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Gov. Gavin Newsom Aims to Spread California’s Climate Regulations Globally

Gavin Newsom, the Governor of California, embarked on a week-long mission to Chinese provinces to negotiate climate agreements. He has been advocating for climate change policies and regulations, and was the only American invited to address the United Nations on the issue last month. Newsom has signed various laws and regulations to move California away from fossil fuels, including a ban on the sale of new gas-powered cars by 2035 and a commitment to halt carbon dioxide emissions by 2045. He also aims to end oil drilling in the state by 2045.

Newsom’s ambitious climate policies have elevated his national profile and fueled speculation of a potential White House run in 2028. However, critics question the feasibility of some of these policies, expressing concerns about their scalability on a national or global level and their potential to disrupt California’s energy supplies and economy.

Newsom believes that rapid technological advancements in renewable energy will enable the state to achieve its ambitious climate targets. He plans to sign agreements with Chinese provincial leaders to export California’s climate policies and technologies. His strong stance on climate change is expected to resonate with future young voters, who he hopes will support his political aspirations in 2028.

Despite support from many Californians who view his actions as necessary in the face of worsening climate-related disasters, there are concerns about the economic impact of his policies. Critics argue that Newsom’s approach to slashing emissions and shutting down drilling lacks consideration for managing the potential fallout, particularly in communities that rely on the gas and oil industry.

While California has made progress in transitioning to renewable energy sources and adopting electric vehicles, there are challenges in meeting the state’s own emissions reduction targets. The adoption of electric vehicles has been relatively successful, with 25% of new cars sold in California being electric in the second quarter of 2023. However, the increasing demand for electricity to support this transition presents a challenge for utilities to rapidly scale up renewable energy infrastructure.

Southern California Edison, one of the state’s largest electric utilities, estimates that meeting Newsom’s climate mandates would require an investment of over $370 billion to expand renewable energy generation and upgrade transmission and distribution infrastructures. Additionally, utilities would need to equip existing fossil fuel-fired power plants with carbon capture technology, which is not yet commercially available.

Despite the challenges, many California companies are recognizing the inevitability of the state’s climate regulations and are embracing them as business opportunities. Some see the adoption of these regulations as a competitive advantage in the long run.

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