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California is making its aggressive emissions goals even more aggressive

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Governor Jerry Brown orders emissions be cut by 40 percent of their 1990 levels before 2030

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

California Governor Jerry Brown, dealing with a major water crisis in the state, is already looking years ahead. Today he issued an executive order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030.

Already aiming to cut emissions by 80 percent in 2050

As The New York Times reports, the state already has an ambitious, longer-term goal set to battle climate change: lower emissions by 80 percent of their 1990 levels before 2050. In the previous administration, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger also set a goal to have emissions meet 1990 levels by 2020, and the state, according to officials, is on track to meet — or even exceed — that goal. Brown's new order mostly leaves the how of the equation with state agencies, directing them to identify and eliminate problems within their own departments, according to the order.

Brown has tied the problems of the water crisis directly to climate change, and it's clear he's attempting to continue positioning his administration as friendly toward the environment. The governor's office says the order represents "the most ambitious greenhouse gas reduction target in North America," and lines up with goals for 2030 set by the European Union. The more pressing question for many Americans, however, will be how their own states' plans measure up.