Read More: The Guardian
When most of us think of slowing global warming, we think of reducing car exhaust and power plant emissions – limiting activities that involve combusting fossil fuels. But we rarely draw the connection between the production of energy and another important resource: water. Yet in California, 20% of the state’s electricity and 30% of the natural gas that isn’t used by power plants goes to the water system – from pumping it for delivery to disposing of wastewater. Could saving water play a significant role in addressing climate change? And, if so, could we achieve these savings without incurring significant costs? A bill just signed by governor Jerry Brown will pave the way to answer those key questions. The Water-Energy Nexus Registry bill, or SB 1425, establishes a voluntary registry of greenhouse gas emissions for water utilities to account for the emissions generated from their energy use. It’s a radical departure of how California has been addressing climate change. In effect, SB 1425 moves the focus from fossil fuels to water. California has long been a leader in addressing global warming. In 2006, California enacted the Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32), which set out to reduce emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. Since then, the state has implemented a flurry of programs to cut emissions, from subsidizing electric cars and solar panel purchases to mandating tailpipe emission reductions of cars and trucks. In September, the governor expanded the target by signing a bill requiring the state to cut the emissions to 40% below 1990 levels by 2030. These programs have been a great success: California is on target to meet its near-term 2020 goal. Reaching the 2030 goal will require new investments and innovation.