Surprise! California cracked down on carbon and its economy is still booming

The predictions were dire in 2006 when Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a bill audaciously committing the state to cut greenhouse gas emissions 25% by 2020 in order to combat global warming.

Assembly Bill 32 would be a “job killer,” the state Chamber of Commerce declared. Businesses would flee the state and new investments in California would wither. The crackdown on carbon would hinder energy production and cause rolling blackouts. It would “practically shut the state down,” one economist warned.

Surprise! California didn’t shut down. The state isn’t plagued with energy shortages and blackouts; in fact, California now produces so much solar power that the state has occasionally paid other states to take its surplus electricity. Businesses didn’t flee, and investors are still putting their money to work in the state, which now has the world’s fifth-largest economy.

And those AB 32 targets that seemed so daunting in 2006? Turns out, California met them in 2016 — four years ahead of the deadline. That’s according to the most recent tally of greenhouse gas emissions published this week by the California Air Resources Board.

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