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California to go 100 percent carbon-neutral

California issues warning on climate change
California issues warning on climate change 01:46

California Gov. Jerry Brown is aiming for the state to be carbon-neutral by 2045. 

Brown signed an executive order Monday announcing the goal to eliminate carbon emissions in the state within 27 years. He also signed a bill, SB100, making the state's electricity completely emissions-free by 2045. 

The bill represents an ambitious move by the world's fifth-largest economy.

"It's impossible to overstate how significant it is for a state as large and influential as California to commit to 100 percent clean energy," the Sierra Club said in a statement.

"California is showing the world that a transition to 100 percent clean energy is within reach and it will continue to drive the transition away from fossil fuels -- and it is doing this while the federal government abandons clean energy."

Hawaii last year became the first U.S. state to commit to 100 percent clean energy. But a move by California, which is the most populous state in the union, would arguably do more to spur state-level investment. 

California has consistently beaten its clean-energy targets, and currently consumes just 8 percent of the U.S.' electricity despite accounting for 12 percent of the country's population. 

The nation's largest state currently gets just over one-third of its energy from wind, solar or geothermal power, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Another 9 percent comes from nuclear plants. Natural gas, considered a "cleaner" fossil fuel, makes up 49 percent of the energy mix.

Last month, a sobering report detailed the effects of climate change on the state. California stands to lose up to two-thirds of its beaches to erosion, and a similar portion of its water supply, depending on how quickly the world reduces greenhouse gas emissions, the report found. Average summer temperatures are set to rise between 5 and 8 degrees Fahrenheit, and the average land area burned during wildfires yearly would increase 75 percent. 

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