Cupertino citizens gathered at the Quinlan Community Center for a conference about climate change and Senate Bill 100 with Assemblymembers Marc Berman and Evan Low on Jan. 25.
SB 100, also known as The California Clean Energy Act of 2017, was written and proposed by California Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León to gradually eliminate natural gas emissions and to accelerate the mandate for renewable energy to make the California grid 100 percent clean by Dec. 31, 2045.
“We are ahead of schedule on our current energy bills. Utilities have largely already contracted for the electricity to meet the 50 percent requirement by 2030,” said Jason Barbose, an advocate for the Union of Concerned Scientists.
Barbose explained how climate change was responsible for the many natural disasters over the last year. The Sonoma fires, the droughts and the flooding; all of these are a reflection of how the world is changing, and why it is crucial to pass climate legislation.
The necessity for this metaphorical leap to the moon was represented by the audience that ranged from children asking how to save local marine wildlife, to Stanford professors asking why electric cars are not more easily accessible, to even business owners concerned about new regulations.
The Assembly Members answered the public’s concerns as to why change hasn’t occurred yet.
Low drove in the importance of the immense turnout of people from diverse backgrounds in the room and how it is necessary to push legislation.
“When we think about the lack of [community] engagement, it becomes a significant problem,” said Low.
Among agricultural industries and businesses that rely on electricity, there are concerns about how regulations will impact them and whether they could feasibly meet the requirements.
In reality though, cost of electric cars are going down and the technology and jobs that are being created is growing exponentially to where these environmental goals are possible.
“It’s not enough to just simply say we’re going to protect industry and there’s going to be significant changes, but rather what is the impact that it might have to the environment,” said Low.
SB 100 could open up a new world of legislation that would solve both short-term problems such as creating job opportunities, plus the obvious long-term issue of saving the planet, but in the world of politics, it’s not always that easy.
Berman touched on the topic of interest groups amending bills in the past and inserting sections that supported their sometimes nefarious agenda.
“There was a group of bills that were being discussed. SB 100 was a part of that group that some interests [groups] were going to insert causes into,” said Berman.
This would go against the original promises from Senate President Leon of not allowing the promises made in the bill to be amended.
Berman explained to the crowd that this bill is perfect, without any amendments.
With California being the seventh largest economy in the world, by starting this leap into such drastic climate change legislation, the hope is the rest of the world will follow along and the planet will be saved for generations to come.