California’s new greenhouse gas rules will slash electricity use by as much as 10% by 2030 and reduce emissions by up to 40% by 2040, but environmental groups are still calling for a ban on coal.
California’s environmental laws already require that power plants to reduce carbon emissions by 25% by 2020.
The new rules are expected to require a similar reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, according to the Sierra Club and other environmental groups.
The Sierra Club has called the proposed changes a “war on coal,” and the group said it was “deeply concerned” about the impact the changes could have on California’s climate.
California has already cut emissions from power plants by over 25% compared to the 1990s, and the Sierra club said the new regulations would require the state to reduce emissions even further.
The group said that if California follows the rules, it could be a lot harder to meet its goal to meet the international goal of cutting emissions 80% below 2005 levels by 2030.
“We need to get coal out of our power plants,” Sierra Club executive director Dan Wenk said.
The proposed rules have sparked a heated debate in California, where residents are worried about what they consider the environmental damage of coal.
In a statement on Monday, the state Department of Ecology and Parks said that the rule would be phased in over a five-year period.
The agency said it will “reduce the amount of electricity used in power plants, reduce their use of natural gas and other fuels, and reduce their reliance on carbon-intensive fuels.”
In its statement, the agency said the rules will require utilities to adopt carbon capture and storage, a technology that uses carbon dioxide to capture emissions from burning fossil fuels.
The rules also would require utilities, by 2030, to invest in electric vehicles and to reduce their dependence on coal for electricity.
Under the new rules, utilities would have to install electric vehicles in 90% of their existing buildings, up from 55% today.
California would also require that utilities install at least 50% of its buildings by 2025 to meet emissions goals, and that they must install at no more than 15% of buildings by 2032.
State Senator Tom Ammiano, a Democrat, told ABC News on Monday that he supports the rules.
“If you look at the history of California, California is one of the worst offenders in terms of carbon emissions and we’re still burning fossil fuel, so this is a critical step that we need to take to meet our climate goals,” he said.
The proposed rules would also allow utilities to sell electricity generated from coal and other fossil fuels to other states, which would help meet climate goals.