This is Essential Politics, our daily look at California political and government news. Here's what we're watching right now:
- California lawmakers have tried for 50 years to stem the state's housing crisis. Here's why they've failed.
- Gov. Jerry Brown acted Tuesday to break up the scandal-plagued state Board of Equalization.
- Progressive activists are angry with Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon who shelved a proposal to creates a single-payer healthcare system in California, calling it "woefully incomplete."
California has continued to chip away at its greenhouse gas emissions even as its economy grows, according to new data released by state regulators on Wednesday.
Emissions fell by a third of a percent in 2015, which regulators said was equivalent to removing 300,000 vehicles from state roads for a year.
“These numbers clearly indicate that the state is on track to achieve its 2020 emission reduction goals and that California can grow its economy while continuing to fight climate change,” said a statement from Mary Nichols, chair of the California Air Resources Board.
The numbers show California has become a less carbon-intensive place to live and do business, with emissions per capita and per gross domestic product falling for a few years in a row
However, despite progress in sectors like electricity generation, emissions from transportation have ticked upwards in recent years. California has struggled to get enough zero emission vehicles on the roads to meet its goals.
The announcement came as Gov. Jerry Brown and Nichols were traveling in China, where they’ve been touting the state’s environmental programs and seeking to improve partnerships as President Trump withdraws from the fight against global warming.
At the same time, lawmakers are debating the next round of California’s policies on climate change, especially as the state pushes toward an even more ambitious target for reducing emissions by 2030. Legislation to extend the cap-and-trade program, which requires companies to buy permits to pollute, fell short in the Assembly last week, but Brown is still pushing to reach a deal this month.