California is world-renowned for the beauty of our coastline, our majestic forests and breathtaking mountain and desert environments. The innovations of our residents shape the global culture. As the home of cutting edge urban centers, as the most populous state in the country and the fifth largest economy in the world, what we do here matters. The actions we take can lead the nation and the world towards a 100 percent clean, renewable energy future at a speed that staves off the worst impacts of global warming and protects our most treasured places and the wildlife that call California home.
New investments by both Congress and in the California climate budget can save the state billions in avoided costs in the future. This year California’s challenge will be to continue to invest in building that future, while also finding additional cost-effective ways to protect the environment.
Here is Environment California’s program agenda for 2024.
100% Renewable Energy
For decades, we have had the power to harness clean, abundant energy from the sun and the wind. In 2024, it can be done more efficiently and cheaply than ever before. Yet we’re still producing, consuming and wasting energy in ways that do lasting damage to our environment and our health. We can have healthier communities right now, and a livable future for generations to come — but to get there, we need to rapidly transform the way we produce and consume energy.
Getting to a clean energy future fast!
Stand up for Solar
As one of the sunniest places in the world, we could technically meet all of our state’s energy needs with solar paired with storage. We strongly support incentive programs to take advantage of solar potential in the built environment, and catch more sunshine with solar and storage on homes, businesses, schools, warehouses, superstores, parking lots, and land along highways. California has tremendous solar potential in these areas where solar infrastructure can be built the fastest. The state’s recent decision to slash rooftop solar incentives has caused solar sales to plummet, jeopardizing California’s clean energy progress. Every viable rooftop without solar panels represents a missed opportunity, so we will work to remedy this situation and keep solar growing in all the smartest places by ensuring we count the true value of rooftop solar and catch the sun’s rays while minimizing the impact on our natural spaces.
The Cleanest Energy: Conservation and Energy Efficiency
‘The cleanest energy’ is the energy we don’t use. Reducing energy use is one of the fastest and cheapest ways to reduce dependence on dirty, outdated energy sources. In 2024, we’ll promote resources like our Clean Energy Home Toolkit to help Californians maximize energy savings and take advantage of financial incentives to do so. We’ll encourage greater adoption of energy saving technologies like smart thermostats and smart lighting in both residential and commercial settings, and will work to expand and promote demand response programs to incentivize energy conservation especially when demand is high. We’ll support efforts to use energy more wisely, especially by some of the biggest energy users in the state.
Go Big on Offshore Wind
We will work to make sure the CEC stays on track for its statewide goal of at least 25 gigawatts of offshore wind by 2045, and ensure that we do so while protecting our vibrant marine ecology. We support investing in electricity grid and port updates so we can go big on offshore wind. We’ll fight to secure long-term funding to support offshore wind while also monitoring its impacts to ensure thriving marine ecosystems.
A Million Solar Batteries
Catching the sun on existing rooftops across the state is critical to meet greenhouse gas reduction goals. We’ve built nearly 2 million solar roofs, now we need to build a more resilient electricity grid with a million solar batteries that can save that solar for later. We also support innovative ways to deploy more battery storage like repurposing used electric vehicle batteries at the end of their lives to store more clean, solar energy, and supporting vehicle-to-grid technologies so that our state’s growing fleet of electric vehicles can help store energy and power homes when needed.
Efficiency Upgrades for Power Lines
The transmission wires that make up California’s electric grid need upgrades to handle all the new electricity needed to reach 100% clean energy. These aging, inefficient power lines are more prone to starting wildfires and cannot keep up with all the new clean energy being added to the grid each year. Common sense upgrades to get the most out of our current system will reduce new transmission infrastructure needed to meet our climate and clean energy goals.
Adopting grid enhancing technologies helps maximize the capacity of existing power lines, a low-cost way to keep clean energy flowing to where it is needed. Upgrading, or reconductoring, old lines can potentially double their capacity without increasing the footprint of transmission towers or triggering lengthy permitting processes. It’s time to “unlock” new renewable energy by using existing wires more efficiently and making smart upgrades to increase transmission capacity.
Our buildings no longer have to pollute the air and contribute to climate change. We support energy efficiency measures and electrifying home heating, cooling, hot water and cooking, so that the sun and the wind powers our buildings, rather than fossil fuels.
Make Polluters Pay
As California transitions to clean energy sources and the state’s fossil fuel industry declines, we must ensure that Californians are protected from oil and gas wells that stop producing in the years to come. Idle and orphan oil wells pose an increasing risk to California’s environment, public health, and finances. It’s not enough that these wells should be plugged in a timely manner: the oil and gas industry should be responsible for funding these critical cleanup efforts. We will also fight to remove wasteful subsidies benefiting the oil and gas industry from California’s budget. It makes no sense to spend state dollars on the fossil fuel industry, especially when a budget deficit threatens funding for clean energy and climate programs.
Every minute, America is losing two football fields worth of forest, meadow, grassland, desert, beachfront, riverside or wetland. California is a biodiversity hotspot, but in just the last 20 years, California has lost more than 1 million acres of natural land. Right now, over 600 native California species are at risk of extinction. Our ocean and rivers are threatened by oil spills and plastic pollution. The continuous loss of nature diminishes not only the richness of our natural world, but also of our own lives and our children’s future. We will work for more nature in the following ways:
The high ambition campaign for 30% x 2030
We support a pathway that will truly protect 30% of our land, ocean and waterways by 2030 and sustainably manage 100% of our state’s natural environments. We will work to ensure that California’s commitment to conservation results in tangible protections and benefits for our rich ecosystems.
While approximately 16% of California’s coastal waters are conserved, only 12% have the level of protection scientists say is needed to defend against biodiversity loss and climate impacts. We’re working to strengthen and expand California’s network of marine protected areas as well as establish new national marine sanctuaries, like the Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary and also strengthening protections at the Farallones.
Defend and Restore Kelp Forests
Kelp forests have been devastated in the past decade. We support protecting existing kelp forest as part of the Marine Protected Area network and legislative efforts to restore kelp forests and eel grass.
More Public Land
We support permanently protecting more of California’s most beautiful places including, the Chuckwalla National Monument, expanding Joshua Tree National Monument. Medicine Lake Highland National Monument, Kw’tsán National Monument, the San Gabriel National Monument and Berryessa Snow National Monument.
Wildlife Over Waste
We support efforts to reduce the deluge of single use plastics that harm our wildlife, perpetuate fossil fuel dependence and create needless waste. We support strong implementation of the Plastic Pollution Reduction Act and reduce wasteful use of plastic- from online shopping to plastic bottles. We support State Sens. Catherine Blakespear and Ben Allen and Asm. Rebecca Bauer-Kahan bills to strengthen California’s ban on single-use plastic grocery bags; SB1053 and AB2236.
No Offshore Drilling
We support an end to offshore oil drilling. The disastrous Orange County oil spill demonstrated that when we drill, we spill. We must work to end drilling offshore as fast as possible, ensure the current rigs are decommissioned safely and that polluters foot the bill.
Let Trees Grow
Our forests, both in California and across the globe, provide habitat for critical species and help us fight climate change. We support protecting mature and old growth forests and trees from logging, degradation and deforestation.
Destination: Zero Carbon
Transportation is the largest source of air pollution and greenhouse gasses in California. We need to transform our communities to make walking and biking safer, electrify our cars, buses and trucks and improve charging for electric vehicles. We support updating our transportation budget to reflect the needs of the future, with less funding for freeway expansion or fossil fuel subsidies and more funding for active transportation.
Defend clean air funding:
We oppose cutting critical clean air and clean transportation programs or delaying investments for later years. We support finding new sources of funding from ending wasteful oil subsidies to repurposing legacy highway projects before cutting zero emission vehicle investments.
Public Transit and Safer Streets:
We are working to double the amount of trips taken on public transit in the next ten years by promoting robust, clean powered transit systems and smart growth policies. We support more bike lanes and pedestrian walkways to get more people out of their cars and moving from A to B with people powered energy.
A Million E-Bikes:
E-Bikes hold the promise of clean transportation for millions of Californians while reducing congestion and air pollution. We aim to get the state to set an ambitious goal of a million e-bikes and putting in place incentive programs to make electric bicycles accessible for all Californians.
A Million Charging Stations:
We support increased investment now in building a statewide electric vehicle charging station network so that all Californians can recharge where they live, work and play and so that buses, trucks and off road vehicles have adequate charging support.
Clean Cars For All and other Clean Mobility programs:
The dirtiest cars in the state can cause the biggest problems when it comes to pollution. We will work to take the dirtiest cars off the road by expanding successful local programs like Clean Cars 4 All, allowing more people to replace their polluting clunker with a clean, electric vehicle, e-bike or public transit pass.
California’s wildlife is at risk. Our state has identified 1,153 fish and wildlife species that are vulnerable to becoming threatened or endangered, and the state needs dedicated funding to implement plans to effectively protect these creatures. We support federal efforts to pass the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act which would provide more than $63 million for California to invest in on-the-ground conservation projects.
Wildlife at Risk
Save the Bees:
Bees are dying off at an unsustainable rate, with serious consequences for our natural world. Nearly 1 in 4 native bee species are at risk of going extinct and honeybee colonies are collapsing. Losing bees has a devastating ripple effect across all ecosystems. That’s why we’re working to expand bee habitat and close the loophole with pesticide treated seeds.
Save the Monarch:
The Western Monarch butterfly population has plummeted in recent years. We support the immediate declaration of the Monarch as an endangered species and an action plan to restore their habitat and food source, and eliminate threats like butterfly-killing pesticides.
Save the Otter:
The climate is changing as we speak. Sea otters play a crucial role in maintaining healthy coastal ecosystems which helps reduce the impacts of climate change. We support the expansion of marine protections to allow for even greater population recovery and expanding habitat for sea otters.
Human development has fragmented key habitats and increased animal motorist collisions. We support investments in more wildlife corridors like the Wallis Annenberg Wildlife Crossing, which broke ground last year, to restore migratory paths and reduce this threat. Especially by passing Recovering America’s Wildlife Act in Congress.
Clean Water, Healthy Communities
Catch the Rain:
As drought becomes more severe and more of California’s precipitation comes in heavy deluges a few days a year, we need to take advantage of new federal funds to update cities with green stormwater infrastructure to prevent pollution from run-off, catch more rainwater, prevent sewage overflows and restore our water table.
Get the Lead Out:
Lead is a potent neurotoxin that affects how our children develop, learn, and behave. Yet, across the country thousands of tests are showing lead in the drinking water at schools, pre-schools, and/or child care centers. Environment California supports policies to get lead out of all drinking water, by testing for lead, replacing lead bearing parts in the water system and filtering water first.
We support the proposed ban on fracking and cyclic steam injection. We also support implementing public health buffer zones around current fossil fuel facilities as soon as possible to protect people living near oil drilling operations immediately.
For too long polluters have left a toxic trail in their wake and profited from extraction and pollution of our state’s resources. We support state and federal programs that ensure polluters pay to clean up toxic sites that threaten our air, water and soil and end subsidies for fossil fuels.
State Director, Environment California
Laura directs Environment California's work to tackle global warming, protect the ocean and fight for clean air, clean water, open spaces and a livable planet. Laura stepped into the State Director role in January, 2021 and has been on staff for over twenty years. She has led campaigns to make sure California goes big on offshore wind and to get lead out of school drinking water. As the Environment California Field Director, she worked to get California to go solar, ban single use plastic grocery bags and get on track for 100% clean energy. Laura lives with her family in Richmond, California where she enjoys hiking, yoga and baking.
Senior Advisor, Environment California
Dan provides campaign strategy and policy guidance for Environment California's program and organizational plans. Prior to his current role, he worked as the state director of Environment California and the organizing director of Florida PIRG, among other roles. The Center for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Technologies (CEERT) named Dan a Clean Power Champion in 2019, and Capitol Weekly named him one of the “Top 100 Lobbyists” in California in 2008. Dan's areas of expertise include renewable energy, electric vehicles and ocean pollution, and he has successfully advocated for the passage of dozens of bills into law, including measures to ban toxic chemicals, bring 1 million solar roofs to California, and ban single-use plastic grocery bags. He ran the campaign for SB 100, California’s law setting a goal of 100 percent clean energy by 2045.
Clean Energy Advocate, Environment California
Steven leads Environment California’s campaigns to increase clean, renewable energy throughout the Golden State, spearheading efforts to transition away from dangerous fossil fuels and address climate change. Steven lives in Los Angeles where he enjoys spending time outdoors, watching his favorite L.A. sports teams, and playing the trombone.
Ocean Conservation Campaign Associate, Environment California
Rachel directs Environment California's campaigns to protect our oceans. She was an intern with Environment California for a year before joining staff full-time. Rachel works to protect and preserve the diverse species and habitats found off of California's coasts. Rachel lives in the Bay Area, where she enjoys reading, camping, hiking and learning new recipes.