Why do we need SB 582?
Our recent experience confirms the grim costs of inadequate action
Evidence of the climate crisis is everywhere. Devastating wildfires sweeping our suburban communities, intensifying drought, mass die-offs of trees in the Sierras, damage to our agricultural sector, and our compromised coastlines all bear witness. The 2015 drought cost California about $2.7 billion and 20,000 lost agricultural jobs. The 2018 wildfires cost California $150 billion (about ⅔ of the annual state budget). When the costs of the 2020 fires are determined, they will undoubtedly dwarf these staggering numbers.
SB 582 is both achievable and highly beneficial– technologically and financially
California has a remarkable track record of passing and achieving dramatic and cost-effective climate legislation. AB 1493 (2002) accelerated the hybrid and then electric vehicle revolution; AB32 (2006) established a world-leading climate protection plan for 2020, which SB32 (2016) then extended to 2030 and critically also began the integration of racial and social justice into the fight for a livable climate. SB100 (2018) set a goal for a climate-neutral economy by 2045 based on the then best available data. California’s 1 million solar roof and 1 million electric vehicle goals for 2020 were seen skeptically by many when first announced, yet both became great successes, with more than 80,000 Californians employed in the solar energy industry alone. California is now a global hub of cleantech.
Multiple technical analyses find that SB 582’s goal of a 100% clean energy economy by 2035 is not only possible, but also an economic boon for California. The bill would send a signal to the private sector, especially technology developers in the zero-emission and sequestration technology spaces, that California is THE market in which they should invest their dollars. And the clean energy market is huge. Driven by dramatic price declines, more than 80 percent of all new electricity capacity added worldwide last year was renewable energy.
SB 582 is good for climate justice
A polluted California is an unjust California. Spare-the-air days, the August/September 2020 fires and resulting blackouts, toxic spills, and pollution from internal combustion engine vehicles all disproportionately impact lower-income communities, which are disproportionately communities of color. Many of our past solar efforts targeted affluent, white communities while leaving behind much of the state. SB 582 would ensure that climate goals are carried out equitably and provide additional resources to lower-income communities.
California once led boldly on climate, but has fallen behind. We are now in a position to do better for the climate, our economy, and social justice. SB 582 will help us do just that.