Gov. Jerry Brown reaffirmed his commitment to renewable energy goals for California in his 2013 State of the State address. The Jan. 24 speech reviewed a number of important issues in California, including education spending, water supply, high-speed rail lines, job creation, and health care. Among those issues was climate change.
"When we think about California's future, no long-term liability presents as great a danger to our wellbeing as the buildup of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere," he said. "According to the latest report from the World Bank, carbon dioxide emissions are the highest in 15 million years. At today's emissions rate, the planet could warm by more than 7 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of the century, an event unknown in human experience. California is extremely vulnerable because of our Mediterranean climate, long coastline and reliance on snowpack for so much of our water supply. Tipping points can be reached before we even know we have passed them. This is a different kind of challenge than we ever faced. It requires acting now even though the worst consequences are perhaps decades in the future."
Brown cited AB 32, the state law that calls for a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2020, as an important way to proactively battle the effects of climate change.
"Key to our efforts is reducing electricity consumption through efficiency standards for buildings and appliances. Over the last three decades, these pioneering efforts have saved Californians $65 billion dollars. And we are not through yet. We are also meeting our renewable energy goals: more than 20% renewable energy this year. By 2020, we will get at least a third of our electricity from the sun and the wind and other renewable sources-and probably more."
Brown's statements drew praise from the Solar Energies Industry Association, saying in a statement that it will help solar developers, attract investments and add jobs, and position California solar firms to flourish.
"With this ambitious renewable portfolio standard, California is setting an example for the entire nation-while realizing the benefits of an expanded clean energy economy," said Carrie Cullen Hitt, the association's senior vice president for state affairs. "We applaud Governor Brown for advancing policies that promote clean energy innovation, create jobs, protect the environment, and help ensure our nation's energy security and independence. This RPS target demonstrates California's standing as our nation's leader in solar deployment. The state's forward-thinking energy policies ensure that solar continues to be an increasingly significant component in the state's-and our nation's-energy portfolio, one that helps contain electricity costs for families and businesses."
Sierra Club California Director Kathryn Phillips also gave high marks to Brown's position on the issue. "We appreciate the governor's continued leadership on addressing climate change and moving ahead to meet the state's greenhouse gas pollution goals. Californians are united in wanting to take a lead on reducing that pollution, and we are all benefiting from the shift to cleaner energy for our electricity and our transportation."