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'World's Most Ambitious Target' to Go 100% Renewables Just Passed the California Senate

California Valley Solar Ranch. Bechtel

California took a major step in ditching fossil fuels after the state Senate passed a bill Wednesday that aims for 100 percent renewable energy by 2045. The legislation, Senate Bill 100, was approved with a 25-13 vote.


"Today, we passed the most ambitious target in the world to expand clean energy and put Californians to work," said Senate Leader Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles.

The bill next moves to the Assembly for approval.

De León noted that his bill progressed just as President Donald Trump is reportedly poised to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate agreement.

"Regardless of what Washington does, California will show the way forward," De León said. "We are sending a clear message to the rest of the world that no president, no matter how desperately the try to ignore reality, can halt our progress."

The Golden State is already admired for its clean-energy leadership but Senate Bill 100 is its most aggressive renewable energy target yet. If the bill becomes law, the state has to entirely abandon fossil fuel electricity in less than three decades and accelerate its current renewable portfolio standard of 50 percent by 2030. Under the law, California would also have to reach 50 percent renewables by 2026 and 60 percent by 2030.

PVTech reports that the legislation requires California to slowly transition away from natural gas, which is the state's top electricity source. Aliso Canyon's monstrous methane leak in Porter Ranch in October 2015 is a reminder why cleaner alternatives, such as solar and battery storage, are better alternatives.

"We want to make sure when we phase down, we phase down to renewable, which is healthy for our planet," de León said. "We'll be engaging still with the natural gas folks, but that's really all I can say about that part."

Environment California applauded Sen. de León's vision on the bill.

"Now more than ever, California must go big on clean, renewable energy and set a strong example for other states to follow," Michelle Kinman, Environment California's clean energy advocate, said. "Getting to 100 percent renewable energy is 100 percent possible—and it's 100 percent necessary."

Noted environmental advocate and Hollywood actor Leonardo DiCaprio also celebrated the vote.

"Great reminder that the future is in our hands," he tweeted. "Thank you CA for leading where Washington won't."

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A second U.S. jury has ruled that Roundup causes cancer.

The unanimous verdict was announced Tuesday in San Francisco in the first federal case to be brought against Monsanto, now owned by Bayer, alleging that repeated use of the company's glyphosate-containing weedkiller caused the plaintiff's cancer. Seventy-year-old Edwin Hardeman of Santa Rosa, California said he used Roundup for almost 30 years on his properties before developing non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

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Judge Vince Chhabria has split Hardeman's trial into two phases. The first, decided Tuesday, focused exclusively on whether or not Roundup use caused the plaintiff's cancer. The second, to begin Wednesday, will assess if Bayer is liable for damages.

"We are disappointed with the jury's initial decision, but we continue to believe firmly that the science confirms glyphosate-based herbicides do not cause cancer," Bayer spokesman Dan Childs said in a statement reported by The Guardian. "We are confident the evidence in phase two will show that Monsanto's conduct has been appropriate and the company should not be liable for Mr. Hardeman's cancer."

Some legal experts said that Chhabria's decision to split the trial was beneficial to Bayer, Reuters reported. The company had complained that the jury in Johnson's case had been distracted by the lawyers' claims that Monsanto had sought to mislead scientists and the public about Roundup's safety.

However, a remark made by Chhabria during the trial and reported by The Guardian was blatantly critical of the company.

"Although the evidence that Roundup causes cancer is quite equivocal, there is strong evidence from which a jury could conclude that Monsanto does not particularly care whether its product is in fact giving people cancer, focusing instead on manipulating public opinion and undermining anyone who raises genuine and legitimate concerns about the issue," he said.

Many regulatory bodies, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, have ruled that glyphosate is safe for humans, but the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer found it was "probably carcinogenic to humans" in 2015. A university study earlier this year found that glyphosate use increased cancer risk by as much as 41 percent.

Hardeman's lawyers Jennifer Moore and Aimee Wagstaff said they would now reveal Monsanto's efforts to mislead the public about the safety of its product.

"Now we can focus on the evidence that Monsanto has not taken a responsible, objective approach to the safety of Roundup," they wrote in a statement reported by The Guardian.

Hardeman's case is considered a "bellwether" trial for the more than 760 glyphosate cases Chhabria is hearing. In total, there are around 11,200 such lawsuits pending in the U.S., according to Reuters.

University of Richmond law professor Carl Tobias told Reuters that Tuesday's decision showed that the verdict in Johnson's case was not "an aberration," and could possibly predict how future juries in the thousands of pending cases would respond.


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