After a landmark vote by its state Assembly, California is poised to join Hawaii and become the second state committed to generating 100 percent of its electricity from renewable and zero-carbon sources. If the state Senate votes in favor of the current version of Senate Bill 100, which has only minor changes to a bill the Senate already passed, and then Gov. Jerry Brown signs it, California will commit to a clear target of 100 percent clean electricity by 2045.
“California is on the bright side of history, creating healthier communities today and a more livable future for our children,” said Dan Jacobson, state director of Environment California, which led the campaign for SB 100. “We applaud all our Assembly members for recognizing the crucial need to set a course for a future powered by clean renewable energy, rather than dirty fossil fuels.”
Scientists agree that to forestall the worst impacts of climate change, we must stop burning virtually all fossil fuels by mid-century. SB 100 takes that urgency into account, setting new goalposts for clean energy.
“We have an obligation to ourselves and to future generations to clean up the ecological mess we’ve gotten ourselves into. But we can never reach goals that we never set. That’s why SB 100 is an important step -- it articulates the targets we need to hit, giving us a strong push in the right direction,” said Doug Phelps, the chairman of Environment America. Environment California is one of 29 state affiliates of Environment America.
SB 100’s interim goals include harnessing 50 percent of California’s electricity from renewable sources by 2026, and 60 percent by 2030.
For more than a year, since State Senate President pro Tempore Emeritus Kevin de León introduced SB 100, Environment California has led the coalition inside and outside the capitol to build the support necessary to pass the bill. More than 250 organizations in the environmental, public health, labor, environmental justice, faith, business and youth communities wrote letters in support of SB 100.
To amplify the message before today’s vote, Environment California purchased a full-page ad in Tuesday’s Los Angeles Times. It features a blown-up copy of an open letter from former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, appealing to both Democrats and his fellow Republicans to pass the bill.
As California prepares to host the upcoming Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco, Environment California urges the state Senate and Gov. Jerry Brown to make Senate Bill 100 into law, setting our sights on a future of clean electricity in California, and setting a strong example for states across the country.
While Environment America celebrates this victory in California, we call for more cities and states to embrace similarly bold goals. In Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and a handful of other states, renewable energy bills are either already under consideration, or in the works.
“No matter what part of the country you live in, nor your political affiliation, renewable energy makes sense for the future -- and now. That’s why cities from San Diego in the West, to Georgetown, Texas, to Orlando in the East are forging paths to go 100% renewable. California and Hawaii may be the first states to take this big step, but they won’t be the last,” Phelps said.