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A clean, green, and just economic recovery

Take action today for a clean, green, and just economic recovery in California.

On April 28, The Climate Center and many of its partners sent a letter to the California legislature asking them to use federal stimulus funds to support proven programs that improve health and resilience, and create jobs for a climate-safe future.

We asked that they secure ongoing revenue streams to increase the impact and longevity of those dollars. And we recommended using bonds to help power California’s recovery.

Despite the terrible toll, COVID-19 is presenting a unique opportunity to transform our economy into a healthy, equitable, and resilient one. The California legislature can funnel stimulus dollars to reverse some of the damage already done by the pandemic, including 100,000 clean energy jobs lost in March alone.

Crucial investments we need now include accelerating the equitable phase-out of fossil fuel development, production, and use by replacing it with clean energy, increasing sequestration through healthy soils initiatives on agricultural and working lands, and investing in community resilience measures including community energy resilience to help us weather unavoidable climate impacts.

These investments create a pathway to a resilient economic recovery for California with a secure transition for everyone.

While the world appears to be at a standstill, emissions are still rising and the climate crisis means that we will likely face multiple disasters at the same time going forward.

The impacts of climate change will far outweigh those of COVID-19 and could abruptly collapse whole ecosystems, starting with tropical oceans in the next ten years. While the economic impacts from the pandemic are significant, extreme weather events alone are predicted to cost around $8 trillion globally per year by 2050 with untold direct and indirect human health impacts.

We have the chance right now to address the COVID-19 health crisis, the climate crisis, and the economic crisis by supporting a bold suite of policies to transition us to a vibrant, healthy, and climate-safe future for all.

Let’s ensure a clean, green, and just economic recovery. Take action today here. Together we can do it!

Endorse our Climate-Safe California campaign and support The Climate Center’s bold efforts today!

Earth Day 2030: California celebrates reaching net-negative emissions

Let’s imagine it is April 2030. In the early 2020s, as the coronavirus pandemic swept the world, we in California finally addressed the climate crisis at the speed and scale science demanded.

Nation & World Collaborating for Speed & Scale Climate Action

Today, Earth Day 2030, we celebrate the deep systemic changes we have collectively made for a healthy, equitable, and climate-safe future. We reflect back on an exceptional ten years of climate action.

The decade began with a nightmare, COVID-19, which woke us up to the deadly consequences of ignoring science. We quickly realized that we must heed the warning of climate experts and take immediate, bold action to avert climate catastrophe.

It took an exponentially growing body of diverse advocates (like you!) putting pressure on policymakers to create bold change in line with the science. COVID-19 showed us how quickly and dramatically we could change government policies, unleash market forces, and create opportunities for everyone to participate in a climate-safe economy.

Today we look back on our many achievements, including:

  • California accelerated the phase-out of fossil fuel development, production, and use. 

Legislation enacted in the early 2020s is showing enormous benefits for health, the environment and the economy as the state halted all new investments in fossil fuel infrastructure and began rapidly phasing-out fossil fuel-powered cars, trucks, buses, trains, and equipment.

We dramatically increased investments in public transportation, housing near jobs, and innovative programs that reduced toxic air pollution, especially for frontline communities.

The state also enacted zero-emissions building codes and began phasing out methane gas. We are grateful to the workers whose livelihoods were dependent on fossil fuel industries for making this rapid transition to a 100% GHG-free, clean energy economy possible.

Ranchers, farmers, and public resource managers were incentivized to implement climate-friendly habitat and soil protection and restoration programs on millions of acres from the Sierras to the sea.

Farmers led the way in reducing emissions while supporting food and water security with climate-friendly, regenerative production.

  • Unavoidable damage from extreme climate events meant that California became heavily invested in community resilience and protecting the most vulnerable, lower-income communities.

Legislation enacted in the early 2020s funded and supported California’s counties and cities to develop and implement clean, local, decentralized, resilient energy and storage, building independent capacity to address climate and other emergencies.

Major new state programs funded and supported local climate emergency response and preparedness measures, including early warning systems, resilience centers, and public education programs that are now benefitting all Californians.

  • California created new financing mechanisms, from frequent flyer fees and carbon taxes to private sector investments, that generated the billions of dollars needed annually for speed and scale climate solutions.

Millions of people took action to bring about the changes in policy that accelerated our transition.

On this Earth Day 2030, we commit to continuing our efforts to secure a healthy, vibrant, and equitable future for all.

We can achieve this vision if we act today based on the latest science. Support The Climate Center and help make Climate-Safe California a reality. Make every day Earth Day!

After a rough year, farmers and Congress are talking about climate solutions

by Georgina Gustin, InsideClimate News

As millions of acres of American farmland sat under historic floodwaters this spring, a remarkable pattern began to emerge.

Even among fields that sat side-by-side, with the same crops and the same soil type, researchers and farmers noticed that some bounced back faster than others.

What made the difference?

The fields that were slow to drain and remained waterlogged longer had been farmed conventionally—tilled, left bare and unplanted over the winter. The fields that drained quickly and were ready for sowing hadn’t been tilled in years and had been planted every winter with cover crops, like rye and clover, which help control erosion, improve soil health and trap carbon in the soil.

Read more: https://insideclimatenews.org/news/26122019/agriculture-climate-change-flood-recovery-sustainable-farming-cover-crops-2019-year-review

Woody Hastings and his wife June Brashares accepting the Ernestine Smith Environmentalist of the Year award and the Pat and Ted Elliot posthumous Lifetime Environmental Achievement

Woody Hastings named Sonoma County Environmentalist of the Year

by Barry Vesser and Laurie-Ann Barbour

On a wet December evening about 100 environmental activists assembled by Sonoma County Conservation Council & Sierra Club Sonoma Group to honor the environmentalist of the year – Woody Hastings, the Energy Program Manager at The Climate Center. Woody was honored for his work on the initiative to start Sonoma Clean Power and also for his recent work on an initiative to stop the development of new gas stations in Sonoma County.

Woody joined The Climate Center in 2010 to help get the establishment of Sonoma Clean Power over the finish line. It was a heavy lift, and Woody drew on his past experience as a community organizer, staff member to an elected official, and clean energy professional,  while never seeking the limelight for his efforts. Woody gave hundreds of presentations on Community Choice Energy and attended dozens of public meetings all over the county. He worked tirelessly educating elected officials, civic organizations, and the general public about the benefits of Community Choice. His personable and deeply knowledgable approach won many new supporters to the initiative for Sonoma Clean Power. Woody has great intuition about when to lead and when to follow. 

In May of 2014, Sonoma Clean Power went live. Their electricity is 47% less greenhouse gas-intensive and less expensive than PG&E’s, saving customers some $80 million.  They have also created meaningful programs in our community like Drive EV and the Advance Energy Rebuild project, which continue to help local residents while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Early on, Woody saw the potential for local renewable resources to reduce emissions and provide real local benefits to the community. He participated in a pioneering effort in 2011 funded by the California Energy Commission to identify the local clean energy resources in Sonoma County that would be the most effective to develop. Woody has also stayed engaged attending most of Sonoma Clean Power’s board meetings for the last 5 years. 

More recently, Woody has spent personal time working with others to prevent new gas stations from being built in Sonoma County. There was a station proposed on County land near Cotati at the intersection of Hwy 116 and Stony Point Rd. Locals had started organizing, knocking on doors, and sending letters when Woody got involved. Soon, because of Woody, there was a Google Group, petitions, and regular emails keeping a wider circle of people informed about what to do. When the developer held a public meeting, Woody and other activists spread the word and filled the room. Shortly after that meeting, the developer withdrew their application. As Woody said, “Sometimes we win!”. And then he organized a celebration party.

Woody is continuing this effort, now trying stop a proposed gas station at the intersection of Llano Rd. and Hwy 12. Once again, Woody is busy circulating petitions and sending out emails keeping others informed and activated. 

Woody and his wife, June, are movers and shakers in the environmental activist community in Sonoma County, and they walk the talk. They have invested in energy efficiency upgrades and installed solar at their house in Sebastopol, and they drive a plug-in hybrid. They own one car and Woody usually takes public transportation into the office in Santa Rosa. In the last year Woody has sworn off flying, so when he needs to take a long trip he takes the train. 

When Woody accepted the award, he talked about the work that still needed to be done and encouraged people to fight the new gas station being proposed. Woody’s advice for aspiring activists is, “Don’t let the highs get too high, so that when the lows come, they won’t be too low” and to always keep a sense of humor.

Woody is someone who has led the battle to address climate change on many levels in Sonoma County and has gone on to make significant contributions to the Community Choice Energy movement across California for the Climate Center. We are proud of our colleague and his dedication to help local communities and the planet.

The climate crisis is the battle of our time, and we can win

by Al Gore, NY Times

Things take longer to happen than you think they will, but then they happen much faster than you thought they could.

The destructive impacts of the climate crisis are now following the trajectory of that economics maxim as horrors long predicted by scientists are becoming realities.
More destructive Category 5 hurricanes are developing, monster fires ignite and burn on every continent but Antarctica, ice is melting in large amounts there and in Greenland, and accelerating sea-level rise now threatens low-lying cities and island nations.

Read more: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/20/opinion/al-gore-climate-change.html

These candidates see farming as a climate solution. Here’s what they’re proposing.

by Georgina Gustin, InsideClimate News

The Democratic presidential front-runner, Joe Biden, proposed an unusual nugget of farm-centric climate policy this week: “Soil is the next frontier for storing carbon.”

It popped up during a swing through Iowa, where the Biden campaign became the latest in the crowded Democratic contest to release a policy proposal aimed at reinvigorating rural America.

Biden’s rural agenda includes one of the more ambitious climate-related goals for American farmers of any contender for the Democratic nomination. It promises to “ensure our agricultural sector is the first in the world to achieve net-zero emissions, and that our farmers earn income as we meet this milestone.”

Read more: https://insideclimatenews.org/news/19072019/agriculture-climate-solution-election-2020-biden-warren-sanders-soil-carbon-conservation

Transform grief and outrage, but how?

Are you feeling grief, outrage, or both? Please join us and use these feelings as fuel to create something powerful and positive.

How? One word: Solutions.

Let’s spread clean energy solutions that create jobs, stabilize energy prices, and offer an alternative model that gives power to the people.

The Climate Center has solutions that do just this.

Please click on the links below to learn more about the powerful impacts of our solutions. To support these solutions, click here.

Clean Energy  •  Transportation   •  Youth Leadership   •  Business for Clean Energy