Getting to Zero


Climate Wins in 2022, blue background, Senator Josh Becker, Yellow California Map

While we still have a long road ahead of us, 2022 saw a number of significant legislative victories in the battle against climate change in California.

California’s grid was in the highest type of grid emergency and at major risk of blackouts this past week. Despite what skeptics say, renewables are not to blame.

In this Getting to Zero post, I share the Governor's climate budget proposals for which I’m most excited and which I believe will be critical in the coming year to meet our state emission reductions targets. The first three categories — EVs and public transportation, clean energy grid, and building electrification — include budget items that target the three largest emission sources in California. Two others — climate change adaptation and mitigation, and clean economy development — highlight policy areas that are essential to help prepare California for future impacts of climate change on the economy and everyday life.

On my way to COP26, I took a pit stop in Portugal to meet with individuals involved in the expansion of the country’s offshore wind plants, which deploy floating offshore wind turbines that California could be using to produce energy. Inspired by the growth of offshore wind in Portugal, I want to reflect upon offshore wind in California — where we are, where we’re going, and how we can get there quicker.

I've repeatedly gotten the question: Do I feel optimistic or pessimistic about the fight against climate change after attending COP26? My response is that I feel encouraged. COP26 brought more progress than expected, yet less than we hoped. My participation in this year’s conference brought content, connections, and hope around the fight against climate change, and provided an unreplicable opportunity to exchange ideas about climate solutions with other leaders on this issue.

My Senate Bill 67, the 24/7 Clean Energy Standard bill, will require utilities and other electricity suppliers to match their increasing amounts of clean energy to the timing of their energy load — on an hourly basis. As the bill made its way through the legislature this year, my team and I fielded concerns and I decided to make SB 67 a two-year bill while we work to find the right policy framework to put the state on a path to 100% clean energy on a 24/7 basis.

Since Getting to Zero depends heavily on switching much of our energy use to zero emission electricity, it is important to ask: Can we get statewide electricity to zero emissions? In this blog post, I'll share research that demonstrates electricity decarbonization is not only feasible both statewide and locally, but that it also can be done with relatively low incremental costs.

This year, there have been a couple of big shifts in the fight for a clean energy future within the world of finance. What is going on? Why did the investment community suddenly wake up and start to care about the climate crisis?