Beyond the devastation and personal tragedy of the fires that have ravaged California in recent months, another disaster looms: an alarming uptick in unhealthy air and the sudden release of the carbon dioxide that drives climate change. As millions of acres burn in a cycle of longer and more intense fire seasons, the extensive efforts of industry and regulators to protect the environment can be partly undone in one firestorm.
California climate regulators on Thursday approved a detailed plan for the state to meet its 2030 carbon reduction goals. The effort, known formally as the “scoping plan,” details the state’s strategies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions 40% below 1990 levels over the next 13 years as a way to fight climate change.
The Los Angeles City Council voted Wednesday to impose a new fee on development to raise millions of dollars a year for affordable housing as the city copes with rising rents and surging homelessness
El Segundo and Arcadia were among two dozen cities urging the CalPERS board last month to avoid another employer rate increase, the fifth in the last five years, when adjusting its $344 billion investment portfolio this month. Last week, the two well-funded cities, both with currently balanced budgets and high service levels, considered sales tax increases. Despite cutting costs, the cities now face deficits from a steep rise in CalPERS rates scheduled for the next seven years.
Julie Cart, the environmental writer for CALmatters who covered Brown’s European sojourn, delved into the report’s data and discovered that the major reason for last year’s drop in emissions wasn’t cap-and-trade, or any other state action. Rather, it occurred because unusually heavy winter rain and snow storms allowed utilities to depend less on generating electricity by burning fossil fuels and more on hydroelectric power from dams in California and other states.
PG&E customers can expect to ring in the New Year with a 2.8 percent hike in their monthly bills during the first two months of 2018, the utility giant proposed in a regulatory filing on Friday. In the rate filing, PG&E asked that the state Public Utilities Commission defer an annual recalculation of monthly bills until March 1. Normally, the recalculation leads to the increase going into effect on Jan. 1. PG&E’s proposal would produce a 0.5 percent increase in January and a 2.3 percent jump in early March.
About one-quarter of California’s school districts don’t make the grade in serving students — either in achievement or other areas assessed under the state’s new school report cards. Oakland, Hayward, Antioch, Mount Diablo and Pittsburg unified school districts and East Side Union High in San Jose are among the 228 poorest performers in the state. Most of those districts fail to meet benchmarks for one or two groups of students, particularly, with those who have disabilities. In East Side, for example, the district fell short in that category as well as with homeless and foster youth students.
Occupational licensing has come under increased scrutiny across levels of government, and desire for reform is bipartisan. The Federal Trade Commission has held two roundtables disseminating research about the effects of licensing on economic opportunity. The Council of Economic Advisers in both the Obama and Trump administrations has suggested that these regulations impede work and opportunity.