On March 9, Gov. Gavin Newsom delivered his state of the state address after a tumultuous year. He addressed the two once-in-a-generation crises facing Californians. Not only did we face the COVID-19 pandemic, but also the record-breaking wildfire season, which burned more than 4 million acres and led to California experiencing the worst air quality in the world.
“The fact is the hots are getting hotter, the dries are getting drier, and not just here in California, but all across the globe. Let’s call it what it is: climate change.” Newsom said.
Recognizing the ongoing challenges we face, the governor underscored the impact banning the sale of new gas powered vehicles by 2035 has made and will make moving forward: “There’s no doubt California is the pace setter of environmental policy, yet we are mindful of our responsibility to do even more. It’s really that restless spirit that defines California.”
As has been the case for decades, Environment California and CALPIRG Students are working hard to make this vision a reality. For instance, the groups delivered more than 20,000 petitions in the last month from Californians calling on the governor to make 100 percent renewable energy a reality by 2030.
With President Joe Biden setting a nationwide goal of zero carbon electricity nationwide by 2035, these petitions reflect where California should be in this effort — out in front by accelerating its renewable energy goals to an even earlier 2030.
Beyond our petition effort, Environment California along with CALPIRG Students, the Climate Center, and 350 Bay Area Action organized California’s first ever virtual climate lobby day on March 1. Three hundred students, volunteers and activists turned out to express support for 100 percent clean energy by 2030, offshore wind development, distributed solar, a fracking ban and clean cars. The message was clear from across the state: We can’t wait another 25 years to reduce our emissions, and get to 100 percent renewable energy.
The climate crisis has already arrived in California, and its impact not only on our ecosystems, plant and animal life,but also on public health and safety is clear. Summer 2020 was a pivotal point for many of us. The extreme heat and devastating wildfires brought a new sense of urgency.
It doesn’t need to be that way.
We already have all the technology necessary for a transition to 100 percent renewable energy in the next 10 years. Why should we continue to burn dirty and dangerous fossil fuels when we can power our lives with wind, solar and geothermal — and we can do it both inexpensively and more efficiently than ever before? The future is 100 percent renewable energy, and it’s up to California and Gov. Newsom to keep California leading the way.