Why it matters: Given the current US administration's views on green energy, you'd be forgiven for thinking it would be more difficult than usual for states to implement their own greenhouse gas emission plans. However, California is looking to prove that perception wrong: the state hit their greenhouse gas emission goal four years ahead of schedule.

The state planned to reduce gas emissions to under 431 metric tons by the end of 2020. The good news is, it finally reached that goal - four years ago.

If you're confused, we'll clarify: California's Air Resources board has only just released its emissions report for the years 2000 to 2016. Based on the report's data, 2016's emission numbers were already under 429.4 metric tons, putting the state well ahead of schedule.

Of course, two years is a long time, and it is possible that emissions reversed direction and began to climb since 2016 (the report doesn't show 2017 or 2018 emission figures).

...California's emission numbers have been steadily decreasing for the better part of a decade.

However, that isn't likely. California's emission numbers have been steadily decreasing for the better part of a decade, and there's little reason for that to change now.

Image credit: The Chronicle

At any rate, while it's certainly exciting to see California hit its 2020 goal so quickly, the state still has a ways to go to reach its next, more ambitious target. California now has to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by a whopping 40 percent by 2030.

Whether or not the state can pull that off remains to be seen.