We need to become the global leader on climate policy once again.
California used to lead the nation, and the world, on climate. Our leadership has slipped over the last ten years while the urgency for change has increased.
Change is tough. The fossil fuel industry fueled global development for two hundred years, and California was one of the biggest oil-producing states in the country. This was a good thing; now the externalities of carbon-based energy production outweigh the positives.
But 500,000 Californians still earn their living in the fossil fuel industry, and decades of policy and physical infrastructure have been built to enable the fossil fuel industry to thrive. Changing the trajectory of the energy economy takes time, and needs to be done justly.
California is the global leader in innovation. Energy abundance will unlock many possibilities for our state, country, and world. California should use its market power to incentivize innovators to achieve clean energy abundance here, on the way to scaling it globally. Our spirit of innovation can make us leaders in nascent technologies like carbon dioxide removal.
California should set an example for the rest of the world by rapidly decarbonizing. We should support the electrification of buildings and cars, and transform our industrial processes to cut process emissions. We should adopt best practices in agriculture to avoid methane emissions.
The oil and gas industry is powerful. If we can work with them rather than engaging in trench warfare, we will go further faster.
As urgent as climate action is, local area pollutants are also harmful and disproportionately impact our poorest communities. So while we provide a just transition for workers in the oil and gas industry, we also need to ensure environmental justice for the people who are bearing the brunt of the legacy of fossil fuels today.