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Green Index Highlights California’s Progress And Challenges

A bicyclist surrounded by cars rides on a street in downtown San Diego in thi...

Photo by Katie Schoolov

Above: A bicyclist surrounded by cars rides on a street in downtown San Diego in this undated photo.

Next 10's new California Green Innovation Index finds a state that is moving away from a carbon-based economy.

The nonpartisan group's index finds that greenhouse gas emission dropped 11 percent in the 10 years since the first climate law passed. The economy grew 16 percent during that same period.

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"California has been able to grow its economy while it's also been able to reduce carbon emissions. And this year's index, for example, found that we have actually achieved our 2020 emissions reductions goals four years early," said Noel Perry, Next 10 founder.

Perry said the use of renewable energy has soared in the decade the study covered, but he said car and truck emissions also went up more than 2 percent. Population growth, oil prices, and longer commutes are to blame, according to the report.

"Emissions from surface transportation like normal fossil fuel cars rose 2.1 percent in 2016 compared with 2015. And this is of great concern because 41 percent of total emissions in California come from transportation," Perry said.

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The report praises the state's efforts to reduce greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere, but it also suggested there are potential problems that could roll back some of those gains.

One possible problem is the federal government's effort to roll back California's authority to enact tough air pollution rules on the state's cars and trucks.

Reducing the national fuel efficiency targets could also make it harder to bring greenhouse gas emissions down.

A new survey tracking of the state's move toward a more environmentally sustainable economy shows progress and challenges.


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Photo of Erik Anderson

Erik Anderson
Environment Reporter

opening quote marksclosing quote marksI focus on the environment and all the implications that a changing or challenging environment has for life in Southern California. That includes climate change, endangered species, habitat, urbanization, pollution and many other topics.

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