Putting the words “California” and “progressive” together probably won’t blow any minds. But the Golden State is about to take it to a whole new level with a rigorous commitment to climate change that could set a new standard for other states. Mother Jones reports that a series of bills aimed at tackling climate change could soon pass in the state Assembly. The bills would address doubling the energy efficiency of state buildings; sourcing 50 percent of the state’s energy from renewable sources; and cutting fuel consumption in cars and trucks in half.

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Bill SB 350 would bring down the state’s gas consumption (currently 10 percent higher than the national average) to the level of Florida’s. Along with that, SB 32 would help bolster GHG targets set out by former governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to reduce emissions to 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050 – the most aggressive target in the country, which would require emissions to drop about five times faster than they currently are.

Both bills easily passed through the state Senate in June, and are scheduled for a vote in the Assembly this week. If they pass that hurdle, they’ll be signed into law.

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“If California can do this, it could really be the beginning of a snowball,” director of California policy for the Environmental Defense Fund, told Mother Jones. “This is how California can really shake up the national conversation on climate.”

The major stumbling block in California’s climate change plan, however, is the state’s powerful oil lobby. Mother Jones reports that the state’s largest oil lobby group, the Western States Petroleum Association shelled out $8.9 million last year lobbying against the laws. Another group, the California Drivers Alliance is now bombarding Californians with ads saying Bill SB 350 will lead to gas rationing, limiting driving and “penalizing drivers for using too much gas.”

But given that Governor Jerry Brown made a promise in January that his state would tackle ambitious climate goals, he’ll likely ensure the bills make it through. “The governor has put his reputation on the line,” O’Connor said. “It’s hard to imagine 350 won’t pass.”

Via Mother Jones

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