As Trump enters White House, California renews climate change fight

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By Rory Carroll | SAN FRANCISCO

SAN FRANCISCO California released new measures
to fight climate change within minutes of Donald Trump being
sworn in as U.S. president on Friday, signaling the state’s
commitment to be the nation’s environmental steward under an
administration that has questioned the reality of global
warming.

California officials said it was a coincidence that the plan
was released 37 minutes after the inauguration. The state
outlined how it would achieve its goal of cutting output of
heat-trapping greenhouse gases 40 percent below 1990 levels by
2030.

The plan drew battle lines for an expected clash with Trump
over climate change, including a fight over the state’s
decades-old authority to set emissions limits that are far
stricter than those in many other parts of the United States.

Trump has cast doubt on the degree to which human activity
causes climate change. His nominee for secretary of the
Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt, this week
expressed doubts about the science behind climate change and
said EPA rules should not hurt economic development.

The California plan includes an extension of the state’s
controversial carbon cap-and-trade program and calls for the
state’s oil refineries to cut their greenhouse gas emissions by
20 percent.

“Climate change is impacting California now, and we need to
continue to take bold and effective action to address it head on
to protect and improve the quality of life in California,” said
Mary Nichols, chair of the California Air Resources Board.

She said the state’s climate change goals are the most
ambitious in North America.

The Trump administration on Friday removed all mentions of
climate change from the White House website and said it would
eliminate the Climate Action Plan, which seeks to cut emissions
in part by preserving forests and encouraging increased use of
cleaner renewable fuels.

During a congressional hearing on Wednesday, Pruitt said the
government would not commit to letting California set more
stringent vehicles emissions standards through a federal waiver.

Pruitt, the attorney general of Oklahoma, has sued the Obama
administration over the Clean Power Plan, a key part of the
Obama administration’s effort to meet an international climate
change agreement signed in Paris last year.

In addition to extending the cap-and-trade program to 2030,
California’s proposal calls for an 18 percent reduction in the
carbon intensity of transportation fuels burned in the state and
4.2 million zero-emission vehicles on the road.

California’s three largest utilities on Friday outlined
their plans for dramatically increasing the availability of
vehicle charging stations to move the state toward a “zero-emission transportation future.”

If implemented, California officials believe the suite of
measures would set California’s economy, which is the world’s
sixth largest, on a trajectory to achieving an 80 percent
reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

(Additional reporting by Valerie Volcovici)



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