Image: © Dtbohrer via Wikimedia Commons

California’s dreaming of going carbon neutral

They think fossil fuels cause climate change. Trump doesn't agree.

The Golden State wants to stop using fossil fuels by 2045 

What it means: California is already pretty green - it gets about 40 percent of its electricity from clean energy sources like sunlight, wind and nuclear power. But after seeing a lot of scary stats about the damage climate change could do if fossil fuels aren't reduced, the state has promised to stop releasing any carbon dioxide that it can't recapture.

Plenty of people think California’s plan to ditch fossil fuels is pretty stupid, including President Donald Trump. Trump says climate change is a hoax ‘created by the Chinese’ (we’re just going to leave that one there). He points out that fossil fuels provide Americans with coal mining jobs and the American economy with money, especially from selling shale oil to other countries.

Clean energy critics also worry that being reliant on renewables could cause power cuts if, say, the wind didn’t blow enough or the sun didn’t shine enough. If only America had a Windy City or a Sunshine State. Oh wait.

Meanwhile, Californians are calculating what they could lose if unchecked climate change does indeed destroy two-thirds of their beaches, dry up two-thirds of their water supply and cause bigger wildfires to burn up to 75% more land.

Putting a price on the environment is hard, and economists are divided over how we should value things like how happy living by a beach makes people, or the cost of losing wildlife habits to wildfire. But tourists (who use a lot of beaches) spend about $126 billion in California each year, agriculture (which uses a lot of water) puts about $46 billion yearly into the state's economy, and current-size wildfires cost California $18 billion in 2017.

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