Viewpoints: State can be the global leader on green jobs

By Tom Steyer

(March 25, 2011)


March 25, 2011

With turmoil and upheaval in the Middle East and with forces in Washington bent on turning back the energy clock, never has there been a more urgent need for California to provide leadership to the world on clean energy policies and technology – especially as it relates to job creation and national security.

That's why today we are announcing the rededication of Californians for Clean Energy and Jobs, the coalition that originally came together last year to fight and defeat Proposition 23, which sought to derail our future by indefinitely postponing California's clean energy and clean air standards.

This powerful California partnership of Democrats, Republicans, and business, labor, civic, community-based and environmental leaders is committed to build off its effort from the campaign by supporting national, state, regional and local clean energy policies that protect public health, and promote job growth and national security.

Our immediate goals are:

• Implementing AB 32 in a way designed to make sure California is the global leader in clean energy jobs and air quality while protecting consumers and taxpayers.

• Expanding renewable energy investments to meet Gov. Jerry Brown's goal of generating 20,000 megawatts of renewable electricity, including 12,000 megawatts of locally generated electricity, by 2020.

• Increasing investments in energy efficiency.

• Continuing our state's commitment to clean energy research and development, and providing incentives for our growing clean tech economy.

Our overarching intention is to encourage and ensure standards and policies that keep California a leader in the fight against climate change, create viable alternatives to our dependence on fossil fuels and further our momentum in the development of clean energy and clean technology – the fastest-growing sector of the state's economy.

According to the state's Economic Development Department, more than 500,000 Californians are now employed in "green jobs." Last year, the state attracted nearly $10 billion in venture capital for clean tech industrial firms – more than six times that of any other state, according to the National Venture Capital Association.

California has a crucial role to play in the national and international challenges on energy. Our leadership serves as a beacon of reason and our market power as a robust incentive to manufacturing firms, automakers, suppliers and even other governments. What we do here matters.

That is why we have drawn together a broad coalition that includes: the Silicon Valley Leadership Group; Ella Baker Center for Human Rights; Natural Resources Defense Council; the Environmental Defense Fund; Los Angeles Business Council; California League of Conservation Voters; California Business Alliance for a Green Economy; the American Lung Association in California; the Blue Green Alliance, and Environmental Entrepreneurs.

These are all Californians who understand that clean energy is not a slogan: It's an imperative.