California planning low-carbon oasis where cars aren't king
"The future is going to be single-family homes in smaller lots, multi-family homes and a more urban style of living," he said. "We are going in a totally different direction now."
CLIMATE CHANGE FIGHT
The state has become a global champion in the battle to stop climate change, adopting a raft of laws and regulations to reduce planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, then by an additional 80 percent by 2050.
That's an extremely tall, if not an impossible order.
A study by energy consultancy Enduring Energy calculates California must generate 90 percent of its electricity from carbon-free sources like wind and solar; retrofit existing power plants with as unproven carbon capture technology; and move virtually all its cars to electric power to hit its 2050 goal.
"It's a re-engineering of our society," said Bryan Hannegan, the vice president for environment and renewables at the Electric Power Research Institute.
How California lives and how it builds is a big part of the solution. While industry, from factories to refineries, get the most attention from climate change foes, cars and buildings are top polluters, California has found.
Transportation accounts for about 40 percent of the state's carbon output, while commercial and residential buildings account for a quarter - more if construction is included.
So developments like the one in Newark tackle carbon emissions by creating smaller, better built houses with conveniences so close no one will need to get in a car.
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