California sets goal to phase out fossil fuels for electricity by 2045, governor says

California has set a goal of phasing out electricity produced by fossil fuels by 2045 under legislation signed today by Governor Jerry Brown, who said the policy should serve as a model for other states and nations.

Mr Brown, who has positioned California as a global leader in the effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, approved the measure as he prepares to host a summit in San Francisco of climate change leaders from around the world starting Thursday.

The new law, along with an executive order Mr Brown signed directing California to take as much carbon dioxide out of the air as it emits, represent the latest in a string of ambitious environmental initiatives as California seeks to fill a void left by President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord and his efforts to boost the coal industry.

"We want others to do likewise, and if enough people often enough do what is needed we will curb global warming," Mr Brown said during an interview with The Associated Press. "But we're definitely at the beginning of what's going to be a long and difficult and contentious journey."

The state is pushing to rapidly expand adoption of electric vehicles and has created a "cap and trade" program to put a price on carbon emissions, creating incentives to reduce them. It's working toward a goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 per cent over the next 12 years.

The efforts have drawn criticism from business groups worried about rising electric bills. Some environmentalists say the California governor is too cozy with oil and gas interests and plan to disrupt the San Francisco summit.

The renewable energy measure would require California's utilities to generate 60 per cent of their energy from wind, solar and other specific renewable sources by 2030. That's 10 per cent higher than the current mandate.

The goal would then be to use only carbon-free sources to generate electricity by 2045. It's merely a goal, with no mandate or penalty for falling short. California's renewable energy goal is not as ambitious as Hawaii, which has adopted a 100 per cent renewable energy mandate.

Phasing out fossil fuels would be a massive change in the energy grid. Utilities rely on natural gas plants to meet demand when renewables fall short, particularly in the early evening when the sun sets and people turn on their air conditioners as they get home from work.

Utilities are already dealing with an abundance of solar energy during peak times, which must be offloaded to other states when there's not enough demand locally for the power.

Mr Brown advocates for a regional energy grid that would more easily allow Western states to share energy. An effort he pushed has died the past two years in the Legislature, with critics arguing California shouldn't be part of a grid with states that rely on coal. But Brown today said moving toward a regional grid is essential to achieving California's new 100 per cent clean energy goal without sending electric prices skyrocketing.

"Those who don't want it are going to be foisting very high prices on California, and I think there will be resistance to that," he said. "It may take one or two years, but we're going to get there. It makes too much sense."

He also pointed to the need for better battery technology to store energy.

Renewable energy experts have looked to batteries that can store solar energy generated in the afternoon as one solution, but the technology is not ready for wide-scale deployment. Another potential solution is pumped storage, in which water is pumped uphill in the afternoon using solar energy and then released through hydroelectric generators after the sun sets.

Mr Brown has often faced criticism that he's too lenient with the oil industry, including from environmental groups pushing him to create a moratorium on new oil and gas wells in the state. He rejected the criticism and said that California's approach to climate change relies on curbing emissions from a variety of sources, including oil.

California has nearly 54,000 active wells, some of them close to urbanized areas in Southern California and the Central Valley, according to state data.

California ranked sixth among states in crude oil production in May, the latest data available from the US Energy Information Administration. The state ranks 15th in natural gas production. California's production of crude oil has fallen steadily since the mid-1980s.

Business groups also opposed the measure amid concerns that it would raise the price of energy and, together with California's other environmental and labor protections, make it hard to compete with firms in other states.

"If we're going to have these first-in-the-nation laws, we want to see first-in-the-nation benefits," said Rob Lapsley, president of the California Business Roundtable.

The measure was written by state Senator Kevin de Leon, a Los Angeles Democrat who is running for US Senate against fellow Democratic US Senator Dianne Feinstein.

"Today we're setting a marker that will be remembered by future generations," Mr de Leon said.

The companion executive order Brown signed directs the state to achieve "carbon neutrality" by no later than 2045. After that, he says the state should emit net negative greenhouse gas emissions.

The order directs several state agencies to set targets for artificially removing carbon dioxide from the air through a process known as "sequestration."

That could involve restoring forests and wetlands to use plants to consume carbon dioxide or new technologies that capture carbon dioxide, compress it and inject it into the ground.

As the election campaign ramps up, some top businesses are concerned climate change isn't being addressed.
Source: 1 NEWS



'We were really excited' - hear the voices of some of the first New Zealand women to vote 125 years ago

Today marks the 125th anniversary of women’s suffrage in New Zealand, which made our small island the first self-governing nation to grant women the right to vote.

It wasn’t a smooth road, however, and although not as long or violent as other campaigns for the vote in the UK and US years later, Kiwi women faced their share of opposition.

A strong push for the vote began in the late 1870s when electoral bills were being put forward to Parliament which had clauses saying it gave women the right to vote, not just men.

But it was much earlier that a handful of women began advocating for voting rights for women.

“It was just a few maverick voices at that point, but it was being discussed,” says Victoria University's Professor Charlotte Macdonald.

The movement picked up steam when the Women’s Christian Temperance formed nationwide in New Zealand.

That’s when women started saying, “we want to change the politics in the places that we live”, says Professor Macdonald.

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For more on this story, watch 1 NEWS at 6pm. Source: 1 NEWS

It wasn’t just for political equality, but for moral reform to protect women, she says.

“They were saying ‘we need to organise to get the vote because without that no matter what we do we’re just going to get cast aside’.”

From there, women began a much larger campaign which involved petitioning, public meetings, writing letters to the editor and working with sympathetic MPs.

A lot of their efforts failed, but the women tirelessly continued to work for equality in voting rights.

From 1886 to 1892, a series of petitions were presented to Parliament.

“Petitioning was the only way in which women, and people outside Parliament, could have their voice heard and the British suffrage campaign was petitioning at the same time so it’s a well-known technique,” says Otago University's Professor Barbara Brookes.

“It was also a really important educationally technique because if you’re going to sign a petition people usually explain to you what it’s about.”

Nearly 32,000 signatures were obtained from women across the country including many Māori women.

It was on September 19, 1893, following another petition and electoral bill passed in the House when Governor Lord Glasgow signed the bill into law and women granted the right to vote.

When election day finally comes in November 28, 1893, 82 per cent of women over the age of 21 turn out to vote.

This changed the course of women’s lives in New Zealand leading to many policy changes for women, female MP being elected to Parliament 40 years later and eventually three female prime ministers.

And take a brief look at the journey Kiwi women took to be granted the right to vote in NZ. Source: 1 NEWS

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'She was extraordinary' - Jacinda Ardern hails mother as 125 years of women’s suffrage celebrated

Hundreds of celebrations are taking place across the country to mark 125 years since Kiwi women received the right to vote.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern marked the historic occasion from Auckland's Aotea Square this morning, where she acknowledged her mother as just one of New Zealand's many inspirational women.

Acting Minister for Women Eugenie Sage also acknowledged the work of women such as Kate Sheppard, Meri Te Tai Mangakāhia and others who tirelessly campaigned for women's suffrage.

The Electoral Act, signed into law on September 19, 1893, gave women over the age of 21 the right to vote in parliamentary elections - the first country in the world to do so.

The PM spoke about New Zealand’s inspirational women in central Auckland today, including one close to her heart. Source: 1 NEWS

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Kidnap suspect accused of tying woman to pole at outlaw bikie clubhouse, assaulting her for days

A Sydney man has been charged after he allegedly kidnapped a woman, holding her prisoner and assaulting her for two days.

The 22-year-old woman told police she was walking in Cambridge Park in the city's west on Sunday when a man known to her forced her into his car and took her to an outlaw bikie clubhouse in Horsley Park.

She said she was tied to a pole and assaulted for two days.

The man allegedly forced her back into the car yesterday and drove to South Penrith. When he left the car, the woman managed to escape to a nearby property and call police, she said.

When police went to the clubhouse to arrest the 29-year-old man, he held officers off for two hours before surrendering peacefully.

He has been charged with kidnapping, assault and intimidation and is expected to appear in Fairfield Local Court today.

Sign on the top of an Australian police car in Sydney Source: istock.com


Trump says Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh 'anxious' to testify over sexual assault allegations

President Donald Trump says it's "terrible" that Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein of California didn't raise allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sooner but says he's "totally supporting" his nominee.

Trump says he wants everyone to have the chance to speak out and Kavanaugh is "very anxious" to testify in his defense. He says, "we want to hear both sides."

A psychology professor named Christine Blasey Ford has accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her decades ago when they were teenagers. Kavanaugh has denied it.

Trump also says the FBI shouldn't be involved in investigating the Kavanaugh allegation "because they don't want to be involved."

He adds he's "totally supporting" and "very supportive" of his nominee, calling him an "outstanding" person.

Democrats have criticised the Kavanaugh nomination process.

The US president told media he is “totally supporting” his nominee, who he called “outstanding”. Source: Associated Press