California has reached a milestone goal in its effort to fight climate change ahead of schedule, according to state officials.
The state’s greenhouse gas emissions in 2016 were less than were emitted in 1990. That’s a target the state is required to meet by 2020 under AB 32, the landmark climate change law.
"I think it's a very positive signal and an affirmation that we're on the right track," says Michael Benjamin, chief of the Air Quality Planning and Science Division at the California Air Resources Board.
With solar power booming, the major drop in emissions came from the electricity sector. Solar rose by 33 percent, as the state’s utilities continue to turn on renewable projects. California law requires them to get half of their electricity from renewable sources like solar and wind by 2030.
Wet weather in 2016 also provided a boost. Power from imported from out-of-state hydroelectric dams, which is considered carbon-free, rose by 39 percent.