Governor Brown Joins Fight to Defend President Obama’s Clean Power Plan


SACRAMENTO – Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today joined a coalition of 24 other states and municipalities across the country to defend the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan, which sets nationwide limits on greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. Today’s court filings respond to suits that several states, coal companies and industry groups have filed to block the new rules, which are aimed at slowing climate change.

“In the face of overwhelming scientific evidence, reckless politicians and polluters want to gut the president’s clean air plans,” said Governor Brown. “Today, California and its partners stand together in fighting these pernicious and dangerous lawsuits.”

Power plants are the largest emitters of greenhouse gases among stationary sources in the United States, making up roughly one-third of all emissions. The Clean Power Plan sets greenhouse gas emissions guidelines for each state based on current levels of pollution. On average, this plan will help cut pollution from existing power plants nationwide approximately 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030.

California is already on track to meet and exceed these new, national reduction targets, having committed to cutting emissions 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030 under an executive order Governor Brown issued earlier this year – the most ambitious target in North America and consistent with California’s existing commitment to reduce emissions 80 percent under 1990 levels by 2050.

Today’s motions to intervene as respondents in the lawsuits are filed by: California (by and through Governor Brown, the California Air Resources Board and Attorney General Kamala D. Harris), Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and the District of Columbia; the cities of Boulder (CO), Chicago (IL), New York (NY), Philadelphia (PA) and South Miami (FL); as well as Broward County, Florida.

“President Obama’s plan to limit harmful emissions from power plants is necessary to preserve our natural resources and protect public health,” said Attorney General Harris. “I will vigorously defend these rules on behalf of future generations of Californians.”

Today’s filings can be found here and here.

California’s Leadership on Climate Change

As the clock ticks for national governments to reach a deal to reduce harmful emissions ahead of the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris, Governor Brown continues to focus on building and broadening collaboration amongst cities, states and provinces at the “subnational level.”

Governor Brown recently joined an unprecedented alliance of heads of state, city and state leaders – convened by the World Bank Group and International Monetary Fund – to urge countries and companies around the globe to put a price on carbon. The “Carbon Pricing Panel” includes: German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Chilean President Michelle Bachelet, French President François Hollande, Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, Philippine President Benigno Aquino III, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and Rio de Janeiro Mayor Eduardo Paes.

The Governor has also spearheaded a global pact amongst cities, states and countries, called the Under 2 MOU, to limit the increase in global average temperature to below 2 degrees Celsius – the warming threshold at which scientists say there will likely be catastrophic climate disruptions. To date, a total of 52 jurisdictions representing 19 countries and five continents have signed or endorsed the Under 2 MOU, collectively representing over $14.8 trillion in GDP and more than 520 million people. If the signatories represented a single country, it would be the second largest economy in the world, behind only the United States.

In addition to action on the Under 2 MOU, in recent months the Governor has traveled to the United Nations in New York, the Vatican in Italy and the Climate Summit of the Americas in Toronto, Canada to call on others leaders to join California in the fight against climate change.

These efforts build on a number of other international climate change agreements with leaders from Mexico, China, North America, Japan, Israel, Peru and Chile. Governor Brown also helped convene hundreds of world-renowned researchers and scientists to issue a groundbreaking call to action – called the consensus statement – which translates key scientific climate findings from disparate fields into one unified document.

Last month, Governor Brown signed landmark legislation – SB 350 – that codified the goals he laid out in his January 2015 inaugural address to double the rate of energy efficiency savings in California buildings and generate half of the state’s electricity from renewable sources by 2030. In the same remarks, Governor Brown also committed to reduce today’s petroleum use in cars and trucks by up to 50 percent within the next 15 years; make heating fuels cleaner; reduce the release of methane, black carbon and other potent pollutants across industries; and manage farm and rangelands, forests and wetlands so they can store carbon.

The impacts of climate change are already being felt in California and will disproportionately impact the state’s most vulnerable populations.