California Can Keep Eye on Climate Crisis and Help with Recovery from C19 Crisis

Last week Governor Newsom released his revised 2020-21 budget. As expected, the budget was significantly reconfigured and places emphasis on dealing with the economic downturn. The good news is that the Governor is recommending that the funds generated from the state’s largest emitters of carbon pollution continue to be used for efforts to address that problem. The bad news is the Governor’s budget is not prioritizing crucial low-carbon transportation programs, a preferred solution for reducing emissions.

Fortunately, the legislature has the chance to step forward and direct the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Funds (GGRF) toward zero- and near-zero emission transportation. If the existing incentive programs for zero emission cars, trucks, buses, and non-road equipment are funded, the state will not only be reducing the primary source of greenhouse gas emissions and cleaning the air, it will be helping to expand California’s manufacturing sector.

As a result of its policies and investments to date, California leads the nation in electric vehicle production. In addition to Tesla re-starting a shuttered automotive plant in the Bay Area, firms like BYD and Proterra established facilities in California to build electric trucks and buses. By fully funding the state’s incentive programs, we can re-start the economy and help support the high quality, blue collar jobs that the state’s EV manufacturers provide.

The Covid19 crisis is unprecedented. Governor Newsom, our mayors, and the public have surpassed expectations with their response. Hopefully we’ll continue to work together and keep the numbers down until a vaccine becomes available. In the meantime, we can’t keep take our eye off the long-term, and irreversible threat of climate change. Per the world’s leading scientists, if we don’t take major action to reduce greenhouse gases this decade, we’ll set in motion a whole host of negative consequences, for which there is no vaccine.

We appreciate the need to address the urgent crisis and help all of those in need at the moment. We also believe that the GGRF funds should be focused on the climate threat, and that in doing so, we can build the state’s manufacturing sector, and help the economy rebound.