Updated January 11, 2018
Gov. Jerry Brown claims to be a climate leader. In truth, carbon emissions rose 3.2 percent in California between 2011 and 2015, even as they declined 3.7 percent in the average over the remaining 49 states. [Source: United States Energy Information Administration (EIA), 2018]
The emissions source that California policymakers have the greatest influence over is the two-thirds of the state's electricity that California produces in-state. Electricity imported from out of state, for example, got cleaner as states shifted from coal to cheaper natural gas. [Source: EIA, 2018]
And on this metric, California has done poorly: California’s in-state emissions from electricity generation rose from 33 to 44 million metric tonnes of carbon emissions between 2011 and 2015. [Source: EIA, 2018]
In 2016, emissions from electricity produced within California decreased by 19 percent, but two-thirds of that decline came from increased production from the state’s hydro-electric dams, due to it being a rainier year, and thus had nothing to do with the state’s energy policies, while approximately a third of the decline came from increased solar and wind. [Source: EIA, 2018
In-state electricity production from natural gas declined by 19 TWh in 2016, while Hydro increased by 15.1 TWh, Solar by 6.2 TWh, and Wind by 1.3 TWh. These four fuels represent the vast majority of changes in electricity generation for 2016. [Source: EIA, 2018
Between 2011 and 2016, Gov. Jerry Brown’s time in office, electricity prices rose nearly four times more (16.7 percent) in California than they did nationally (3.7 percent). [Source: EIA, 2018]
Today, over 90 percent of California residents live in counties with air the classified as “unhealthy”. [Source: American Lung Association “State of the Air 2017: People at Risk In 25 Most Ozone-Polluted Cities”]
California has seven of the 10 most polluted metropolitan areas in that state and 11 of the worst 25. Los Angeles-Long Beach, Bakersfield, and Fresno-Madera were the regions with the worst smog levels in the country in 2017. [Source: American Lung Association “State of the Air 2017: People at Risk In 25 Most Ozone-Polluted Cities”]
Anything that increases the cost of things like energy and food is regressive, disproportionately impacting the poor, who must spend more of their income on these necessities. California’s mild climate doesn’t remove the energy insecurity of poor families. [Source: EIA, "One in three U.S. households faced challenges in paying energy bills in 2015.]
Expensive energy harms the poor in another way: by driving manufacturers out of California. From 2012 to 2016, California’s industrial electricity prices rose 14%, while national average prices rose one percent. [Source: US, EIA , Electricity Data Browser]
Diablo Canyon provided 22 percent of all the clean energy electricity generated in California in 2014.
California’s share of gas-fired generation immediately rose from 45 percent to 61 percent after the closure of the San Onofre Generating Station (SONGS).
The US Attorney and California’s District Attorney have ongoing criminal investigations into how the California Public Utilities Commission initiated and rushed through a settlement proposal that closed SONGS. That settlement resulted in the requirement that ratepayers pay $3.3 billion out of a $4.7 billion settlement.
- Climate scientists including James Hansen, along with other concerned scientists, conservationists, and environmentalists have urged Governor Jerry Brown and other California leaders to keep the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant online and consider the environmental implications if it closes.