Perhaps most important, Newsom told the head of the California Air Resources Board that he doesn’t want new natural-gas plants built in the state. So many older gas-burning plants have closed in recent years that California experienced brief rolling blackouts in 2020 and has come close to outages on several other occasions, during hot summer evenings when the sun sets on the state’s solar-power plants. In response, Newsom has expressed support for keeping the state’s last nuclear power plant, Diablo Canyon, open past its planned 2025 retirement date.
The air resources board is drafting a road map for reaching carbon neutrality by 2045. Environmentalists have criticized that timeline as too slow for ending California’s fossil-fuel dependence, and they’ve aimed some of their ire at Newsom as well. In a press release Friday, he seemed to agree with their broad critique, even though some of the steps he proposed, such as supporting carbon-removal technology for the oil and gas sector, are opposed by many environmentalists.
“The state’s draft carbon neutrality road map doesn’t go far enough or fast enough,” Newsom said in the release. “That’s why I’m pushing state agencies to adopt more aggressive actions, from offshore wind to climate-friendly homes, and to make sure we never build another fossil fuel power plant in California again.”
Newsom, up for re-election in November, has escalated efforts in recent months to distinguish California as a liberal bastion dedicated to issues such as fighting climate change, enhancing abortion access and tightening gun limits. On Friday, he signed legislation enabling residents to sue people making or selling illegal assault weapons and ghost guns. He’s also run ads in Republican-run Florida and Texas harshly criticizing their governors’ policies.