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Gov. Jerry Brown ramped up his efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, issuing an executive order Wednesday morning with more ambitious targets.

The governor’s order aims to cut emissions to 40% below 1990 levels by 2030. Previous goals, which were set during former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s administration, were to reach 1990 levels by 2020, then 80% below that standard by 2050.

“I’ve set a very high bar, but it’s a bar we must meet,” Brown told a crowd of hundreds at a climate change conference in Los Angeles. “It’s a bar not only for California, but it’s a goal for other states, for the United States as a whole, and for other nations around the world.

The governor, who received a standing ovation, urged politicians to keep battling climate change even though the issue can seem “a bit remote and abstract.” And he blasted Republicans in Congress who have doubted whether the threat is real, including one who brought a snowball to the floor of the U.S. Senate to argue the world isn’t getting warmer.

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