California is playing zero games. Just days after the state published its Fourth Climate Change Assessment, the California Legislature passed a bill that will require utilities to generate all their electricity from renewables by 2045.
The assembly voted Tuesday, and the Senate’s vote came Wednesday. All that’s left now for the bill to become law is a signature from Governor Jerry Brown. With his Global Climate Action Summit bringing leaders from around the world together on September 12, Brown might just go ahead and legitimize this major accomplishment pretty soon. We’ll have to wait and see.
This bill, SB-100, sets a deadline of the end of 2045 for the state’s grid to go 100 percent renewable. By using the sun, wind, and water for power, California’s utilities would be leaving behind dirty sources like oil and gas—which not only emit methane and carbon dioxide into the atmosphere but also emit pollutants like particulate matter that threaten the health of (often poor and non-white) residents who live near these production facilities.
Utilities like the Pacific Gas and Electric Company and the San Diego Gas and Electric Company opposed the measure, according to the Sacramento Bee, but environmentalists are excited.
“This is a massive victory for Californians who’ve been demanding a swift transition to clean energy in the state,” said 350.org Executive Director May Boeve, in a press release. “With wildfires intensifying and temperatures skyrocketing, the impacts of climate change across the Golden State are impossible to ignore.”
California is a massive contributor to climate change. As the world’s fifth largest economy, its electricity is an important piece of the puzzle. But emissions from industry and transportation play a much larger role. The state has been working to reduce these emissions as well through its car fuel efficiency standards, but the current administration is complicating that effort.
Democratic Senator Kevin de León first introduced this renewables bill last year, and it’s finally made its way to the governor’s desk. Brown hasn’t uttered a word about the proposal yet, but if he’s serious about fighting climate change (as he claims to be, although some activists disagree), this should be a no-brainer.