California's new website reveals huge greenhouse gas cuts

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California launched a revamped energy expenditure website that shows the state is ahead of schedule in its efforts to meet the governor’s greenhouse gas reduction goals.

The website, which features a dashboard that pulls from open data about government buildings energy use, indicated that greenhouse gas emissions have dropped by nearly 50 percent — five years earlier than the target date.

Brian Ferguson — spokesman of the Department of General Services, which administers the website — said the site represents a “marriage” of two of the governor’s priorities: open data and sustainability. He said the new system would help boost accountability among state officials.

“They’re upgrading the operating system of our democracy, so we have better, more clear self-governance,” he told StateScoop last week when the site launched.

State CIO spokeswoman Teala Schaff said opening up access access to this kind of data would help others learn how to save energy. 

“It’s a clearinghouse of this data. It’s only going to make government be able to make decisions based on factual data, instead of assumptions and it’s going to be able to guide the policy based on what the data says,” Schaff said.

In 2015, Gov. Jerry Brown released an executive order to reduce greenhouse gas levels in California to 30 percent below the 1990 level by the year 2030.

“We’ve been tracking the progress towards these goals for several years but what we wanted to do is make very public how the state is leading by example in terms of meeting these goals,” Ferguson said

The new site also shows that the state has saved more than 7.8 billion gallons of water in the last year, answering both the call for water reduction and responding to the state’s severe drought.

“Those goals were certainly pushed forward more aggressively when the drought came,” Ferguson said.

He added, “We’re really proud of the numbers that are shown here.”

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Open Data, Open Government, State & Local News, transparency
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