SB 100: We are Californians. We don’t wait. We build the future economy here.

California State Archive/Peter Grigsby

People have always brought their ambition to California.

From our early pioneers to generations of immigrants from around the world and the rest of the United States, we all come here to find the golden dream by the sea.

When I was growing up in Austria, I was called to this land of limitless possibilities. It wasn’t only America that inspired me. California, in particular, motivated my wildest dreams. I knew then, as I know now, that this isn’t a state that hesitates to leap forward, but one that is always moving, always improving, always building the future instead of wishing for the past.

As Governor, I felt it was my duty to keep this pioneering spirit alive. It motivated me to take unprecedented action and sign AB 32 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and establish a cap-and-trade market. At the time, there were naysayers who told us our historic goals were too aggressive. They told us to wait, that this landmark clean energy push would destroy our economy. But we are Californians. We don’t wait. We build the future economy here.

Since implementation, the clean energy sector has grown to become one of the strongest examples of our revolutionary reputation. We have shown the world how to lead on tackling climate change while building a prosperous clean energy economy through innovation and bold action. At the same time, we lead the nation in many other sectors, from manufacturing to entertainment to technology to agriculture. The naysayers were wrong. The stubborn Californians were right.

California keeps proving we know to invent a future few could even imagine. Now we have opportunity to take another important step forward and commit the Golden State to generating 100 percent renewable energy by 2045.

We are already heading in this direction and meeting our current goals earlier than planned while spreading the use of renewable energy to every corner of our state. The technology and rates are steadily becoming more affordable for consumers, our energy use is becoming more sustainable and less detrimental to our health, and we are creating jobs and retraining our workforce to meet this increasing demand.

The California legislature has the opportunity to unleash a new wave of innovation and economic growth by passing SB 100 this month. Californians throughout the state and across party lines support protecting our clean air and water, investing in new technology, and growing our clean energy economy. The measure is responsibly crafted to provide enough time and off-ramps to make this much-needed transition as beneficial as possible to all Californians and avoid any unforeseen problems.

California is ground-zero for the effects of climate change. Already this year we are seeing larger and more destructive wildfires than ever before. Air pollution threatens our public health daily. Temperatures in Los Angeles are at historic highs and sea-level rise is threatening our world-famous coastline.

This is all happening while the occupant of the White House constantly works to fan the flames by weakening our clean energy and environmental protection policies every day. California must take a stand and tell the world we are, as always, undeterred by those who wish to stop our progress and move backwards. We continue to move forward, and passing SB 100 is one of the boldest moves we can make to help save our climate and way of life.

We know we can pass groundbreaking legislation that will grow our economy, inspire innovation, and protect the air our children breathe and the water they drink. I did it, and I’m a Republican. This is bigger than party and bigger than politics. The California Legislature must pass SB 100 and usher in a new fundamental era of California innovation and share our famous sense of ambition with the rest of the country and the world.

While Washington pines for the past, we’ll be here, once again, building the future.

California State Archive/Peter Grigsby
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