California is once again faced with an incredibly important bill that would further its fight against climate change. Following the introduction of Governor Jerry Brown’s newest environmental aspirations for his last term in office, the California State Senate has recently passed Senate Bill 350— a legislation thats purpose is to, “Create jobs, grow the state’s economy, and improve public health by setting new standards for California’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), reducing petroleum use, and increasing energy efficiency in existing buildings”. SB 350 will now be introduced and voted upon in the California Assembly after Labor Day weekend, and the experts believe the results will come down to the wire.
Authors of SB 350, Senators Kevin de Leon and Mark Leno, created the legislation for the purpose of enacting a plan to accomplish Governor Brown’s ambitious climate goals. Brown announced that by 2030, he wants 50 percent of California’s electricity to be renewable, a 50 percent reduction in the use of petroleum, and a 50 percent increase in state buildings’ efficiency. None of the proposed ideas would create any new bureaucracy and the billadditionally puts an emphasis on strengthening previously enacted climate laws. Not only has this bill received approval from Governor Brown, House Leader Nancy Pelosi, and most of the California House delegation, but it has also been praised by President Obama and most democratic voters in California.
Although SB 350 garners large constituent satisfaction and has already been approved in the State Senate, this bill’s journey is far from over. With big aspirations comes even larger obstacles, and this bill is matched against oil company lobbyist desperately fighting to end the bill in the Assembly. Represented by the Western States Petroleum Association, big oil has used many familiar yet deceiving tactics in attempt to strike SB 350 down. As a leader in energy and climate change initiatives, California is very familiar with such tensions.
The fight for a cleaner future in California needs as much assistance as possible, even from those who don’t call the state home. Anyone interested in helping California Democrats and environmentalists should consider plausible youth action to further support. Initiatives such as writing and petitioning to California Assembly members at the least can lead to a revolutionary increase in climate change action. Together, our generation can and should effectively influence the legislations that will impact our futures.
– IDEAS for UN Team Member Alex Frederick