Following through on his campaign goal of doubling California’s renewable energy capacity, Governor Jerry Brown today signed a landmark piece of legislation that aims to do just that.
On Wednesday, Gov. Brown signed SB 350, a bill that will increase the amount of renewable electricity generated in California to 50 percent and double energy efficiency in existing buildings over the next 15 years. California currently generates about 25 percent of its electricity from renewable sources.
In a press release, the California League of Conservation Voters hailed this as a “first-in-the-nation law” that “keeps California firmly in a place of national and global leadership in our commitment to ending our addiction to dirty fossil fuels…and protecting our families from the threat of climate change.”
The original version of the bill was an even more ambitious piece of climate legislation, calling for state regulators to enforce a concurrent 50 percent reduction in petroleum use over the next 15 years. The Governor championed this version of the bill, but was eventually forced to capitulate to oil interests who called for the removal of the petroleum clause.
“What has been the source of our prosperity now becomes the source of our ultimate destruction, if we don’t get off it,” said Governor Brown, referring to oil. “And that is so difficult.”
SB 350 does not specify how California will reach its 50 percent renewable goal by 2030, but the state has shown remarkable progress in reducing carbon and transitioning to clean energy thus far. Four years into California’s record-breaking drought, Brown has been one of the most vocal politicians on the topic of climate action. In response to the climate skepticism and denial of several conservative presidential candidates, Brown told ABC’s This Week, “I can tell you, from California, climate change is not a hoax. We’re dealing with it and it’s damn serious.”
In its press release, the California League of Conservation Voters praised residents for supporting positive climate action:
“Big oil waged a brutal, deceptive battle against these top-priority climate bills, but you were with us the entire time,” the League writes. “You never wavered, because with wildfires raging, drinking water supplies depleted, and wildlife threatened, you know the stakes for California couldn’t be higher. With your help on SB 350, we earned real progress on climate change that will make a real difference in the lives of Californians across the state.”