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California Needs a 10-Year Green New Deal

As global warming makes California warmer and drier, its wildfires worsen and more people have died. California has the biggest economy in the United States and now has the 5th largest economy in the world. What California does affects the globe.

For three years the New York state assembly had passed the Climate and Community Protection Act (CCPA) to make New York invest in clean, non-fossil energy; create union-paying green jobs; and invest in low-income and communities of color. This year with the N.Y. state senate going Democrat and Governor Cuomo’s just announced support of CCPA, New York will likely have a state Green New Deal soon.

California still produces a lot of oil–only Texas and North Dakota produce more oil.  During Governor Brown’s time in office he has signed over 20,000 permits for oil drillings with 77% of the new oil wells near low-income and communities of color. Governor Newsome has taken a strong stance saying that California needs to transform two oil platforms offshore into wave/tidal platforms to generate energy and that the state needs more offshore wind generators for energy. Still many communities in the state live next to oil drilling using toxic chemicals that spew out toxic air and water pollution daily. The state needs to immediately ban fracking oil using huge amounts toxic chemicals, ban oil drilling within 2500 feet of homes and schools, and develop a plan to end use of fossil fuels within 10 years.

California’s legislature has in 2018 passed a law requiring every new home to have solar panels, a 2nd law to ban any new offshore oil drilling, and a 3rd law to make the states’ electricity grid 100% carbon-neutral by 2045 long after the state experiences climate catastrophe. California needs an immediate Green New Deal that calls for government investment in massive tree planting to stop air pollution and conversion to green energy such as solar, geothermal, and wind power; a tax on profits of fossil fuel companies that is invested in renewable energy-and-energy efficiency and ending oil drilling. Low interest rates for green investment such as electric cars; and green jobs crucial to building a low-carbon infrastructure.

The 1930s the Civilian Conservation Corps had its workers plant millions of trees that stopped the environmental catastrophe in the Midwest. In Korea, Japan’s 35-year occupation left large tracts of its forests logged. In 1961 South Korea started a huge tree planting program that had resulted in 11 billion new trees by 2008. In 2018 Pakistan’s government started a program to plant 10 billion trees while China has 60,000 soldiers planting trees to reforest an area the size of Ireland. California can immediately create its own CCC hiring the homeless and unemployed to plant millions of trees across the state that will reduce C02 levels.

By 2020, all mainstream renewable power generation technologies will have average costs at the lower end of the fossil-fuel cost range. California can in its CCC program offer 40 training programs to teach how to install solar panels on every government building in the state, insulate all public buildings, and install wind farms. CCC workers can then install the solar panels and offshore wind farms on all the state’s public buildings.

For clean transportation, California is falling behind 17 governments that have banned sales of new gasoline-engine cars: Korea’s ban starts in 2020; Costa Rica in 2021, and Norway in 2025. Norway in eight years increased the number of electric cars to 30% of car. Have California CCC workers install state-wide electric power stations for free charging of electric vehicles as well as build safer pedestrian walks and bicycle pathways, low-carbon bus rapid transit, and electrified light rail. A tax of fossil fuels can be used to partially finance solar panels for home owners and businesses as well as to pay for weatherizing homes. Fossil fuels can be phased out by 2018 with no more oil drilling and offshore oil platforms closed. The legislature could enlarge Buy Clean standards to require that government contractors pay family-sustaining wages, hiring and training local workers in working class communities and communities of color.

The Green New Deal is popular with voters. Huffington Post shared the survey results from the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication and George Mason University that nationally 92% of Democrats supported the idea, 64 percent of Republicans supported it, and 88% of independents endorsed the policies. Be the environmental governor the state and world needs.

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