TOP News

US: California is about to stumble in the climate fight

Understanding Joe Manchin's BBB stance: Likely his standard West Virginia pivot

  Understanding Joe Manchin's BBB stance: Likely his standard West Virginia pivot Does Joe Manchin really care about Build Back Better? His primary concern is always West Virginia politics 2018 Joe Manchin campaign video against pre-existing conditions lawsuit Manchin for West Virginia/YouTube

Until recently, when it came to fighting climate change, my home state of California was the undisputed leader among the states.

California is about to stumble in the climate fight © Getty Images California is about to stumble in the climate fight

Since 2006, when Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger pledged to reach a goal of 1 million homes powered by rooftop solar, California has set a standard in the battle to reduce climate-altering pollution. Surpassing that goal in 2019, combined with the state's landmark commitment to 100 percent clean and renewable energy, helped elevate California to global climate star status.

What California does matters on both the national and international stages

Germany takes over G7 presidency

  Germany takes over G7 presidency During its presidency of the group, Germany plans to focus on major issues, with climate policy as the top priority. The G7, or " Group of Seven," consists of the US, Canada, Japan, France, the UK, Italy and Germany. Germany takes over from UK.The G7, or "Group of Seven," consists of the US, Canada, Japan, France, the UK, Italy and Germany. When these countries came together in the 1970s, they were the seven strongest industrialized nations in the world, and the economy was the dominant topic. Today, the G7 deals with major international issues that require a multilateral approach.

Among many initiatives, one particular incentive helped the state reach and then surpass Schwarzenegger's goal - and that incentive is about to be taken away.

A little-known but powerful state agency, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), recently issued new rules for the future of rooftop solar and batteries in California. Simply put, if their proposal is adopted, it would jack up electricity bills for rooftop solar owners to double or triple what they are now. In addition to cutting the "net metering" credit that solar users get paid when they sell their power back to the grid, the CPUC is also proposing a $57 monthly fee for people who install solar.

We're in the middle of a climate emergency. The last thing we need to do is make rooftop solar more expensive.

Corporations, politicians and new tax incentives support carbon mitigation investments

  Corporations, politicians and new tax incentives support carbon mitigation investments We need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to mitigate human-induced climate change. © Getty Images Corporations, politicians and new tax incentives support carbon mitigation investments American corporations have the unique opportunity to lead the United States in GHG reduction through environmental, social, and governance (ESG) practices. ESG is a set of standards used by values-based investors to allocate potential investments responsibly.

California is a climate leader not only by inclination, but also by necessity; the state is a real-time example of the consequences of climate change. Wildfires, heat waves, catastrophic mudslides, blackouts, and drought in the state dominate global headlines; it can be scary to live here. As the federal government has stumbled in recent years on its carbon reduction priorities and global commitments, the Golden State has achieved remarkable progress toward a clean energy future, in part through strong policy support for rooftop solar and batteries.

But the investor-owned utilities have objected for years to the state's net metering provisions, which allow customers who install rooftop solar systems to sell excess electricity back to the grid at a reasonable rate. Now they are calling for people who install solar to be punished - not only with a precipitous drop in the net metering rate, but also with the highest fees in the entire United States. And we know that in locations where net metering rates are cut, solar installations grind to a halt. In just one example, when Nevada went this route, the solar adoption rate dropped by 47 percent. When strong policy was reinstated, the rate came back up.

In a drying West, Utah governor proposes major water investments

  In a drying West, Utah governor proposes major water investments Utah Gov. Spencer Cox (R) unveiled his $25 billion budget proposal last month near what was once the shore of the Great Salt Lake. But instead of waves lapping behind him, the waterline was barely visible in the distance.One of the longest periods of prolonged drought in modern memory has shrunk the lake by more than 10 feet in recent decades, just one barometer in parched Western states that are feeling the increasingly dire effects of a changing climate that is sapping reservoirs, contributing to extreme fires and reducing snowpack and river flow.

Utilities say building new solar farms is a better option - but think for a minute about where those will be built. New farms are already planned for just south of Joshua Tree National Park. The utilities' preferred route is to declare open season on California's open spaces.

Yes, we're going to need utility-scale solar too, to meet our clean energy goals. But the only way to minimize the damage and disruption to California's expanses and sensitive species is to maximize rooftop solar. Gutting the policies that support it will not achieve that end.

Until now, California has demonstrated the kind of momentum to address the climate emergency that others aspire to mirror. Why would any state with such momentum decide to just stop?

Instead of putting the brakes on the transition to renewable energy, California should be taking on the next frontier, setting goals and incentives for installed battery storage to complement the growth in distributed solar.

The world is watching, California.

Policymakers, business leaders and energy consumers across the political spectrum acknowledge the climate emergency and are taking action. But Washington, D.C., has not yet found a way to deliver action sufficient to the task, so states have got to keep the pedal to the metal.

Meanwhile, investor-owned utilities in other states are quietly plotting their own attacks on distributed solar power. If California withdraws its support for rooftop solar, it risks becoming the worst kind of example - a wrong one.

Wendy Wendlandt is president of Environment America, a national network of 29 state environmental groups working together for clean air, clean water, clean energy, wildlife and open spaces, and a livable climate.

When is Super Bowl 2022? Date, location, odds, halftime show for Super Bowl 56 .
Here's everything you need to know about Super Bowl 56 in Los Angeles, including the date, start time, odds and halftime show plans for the big game in 2022.History will have a chance to repeat itself in 2022. The Buccaneers could either become the second Tom Brady-led team to win back-to-back Super Bowls other Rams could make it back-to-back years that a team wins the Super Bowl at its home arena, as SoFi Stadium is set to host the 2022 Super Bowl.

See also