The leadership role embraced by California goes to the heart of what has long been a central part of its identity. For more than three decades, California has been at the vanguard of environmental policy, passing ambitious, first-in-the-nation measures on pollution control and conservation that have often served as models for national and even international environmental law.
“With Trump indicating that he will withdraw from climate change leadership, the rest of the global community is looking to California, as one of the world’s largest economies, to take the lead,” said Mario Molina, a Nobel Prize-winning scientist from Mexico who advises nations on climate change policy. “California demonstrates to the world that you can have a strong climate policy without hurting your economy.”
The Senate leader, Kevin de Leon, introduced legislation this month that would accelerate, rather than retrench, California’s drive to reduce emissions, requiring that 100 percent of retail electricity in the state come from renewable sources by 2045. Mr. de Leon said it was “important that we send a signal to the rest of the world” at a time of what he described as “blowback” from Washington.
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