Diablo Canyon, the only remaining nuclear power plant operating in California. Owner PG&E this summer announced plans to shut it in seven years.
Diablo Canyon, the only remaining nuclear power plant operating in California. Owner PG&E this summer announced plans to shut it in seven years.

California’s Greenhouse Goals Hurt by Nuke Decline

New York Strong in Combatting Carbon

California’s retreat from nuclear power threatens its overarching goals of throttling greenhouse gas emissions, reports the New York Times.

“Distracted by the competing objective of shuttering nuclear plants that still produce over a fifth of its zero-carbon power, the state risks failing the main environmental challenge of our time,” writes columnist Eduardo Porter.

He reported that in 2014, California by one economic yardstick had the third-lowest carbon emissions in the country.

Its progress since then has been surpassed by 27 other states, in large part by California’s decision to close its San Onofre nuclear plant. New York ranked seventh.

“The United States must decarbonize at an annual rate of 4.3 percent… But over the last decade and a half, only North Dakota and the District of Columbia have achieved this pace. New York is decarbonizing at about 3 percent per year, California at barely above 2 percent.

“What’s more, most of the gains in the United States have come relatively easily, not from the deployment of renewables but from the wholesale switch from coal to cheaper and cleaner natural gas. Much of that transition has played itself out, however. Further gains will be more expensive,” Porter wrote.

EDITOR's NOTE: The future of renewables and efforts to combat climate change will be front and center at the Renewables Rush executive energy conference organized by the Energy Times in San Francisco on April 5.

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