Remember President Trump’s first visit to California? Probably not, because Air Force One has barely been west of the Mississippi. Not once has Trump set foot in California, even though he owns a perfectly good golf course in Los Angeles County. What’s he afraid of? Massive protests and withering public scorn from a state that he lost by more than four million votes and has done his best to alienate ever since?
If so, he’s misguided. Donald Trump should be grateful to California. As someone with no real interest in responsible governance (or responsible anything, for that matter), he should appreciate that California has real leaders doing real work on solving real problems. Somebody has to do it, right? At least, as the failing increasingly profitable New York Times put it in an op-ed last week, “until there are more responsible adults in the White House.”
Realistically, Californians shouldn’t expect a thank you note from the White House anytime soon. The rest of us, though, should be not only grateful but also encouraged by what’s happening in California. The state has been pushing the envelope on clean energy and climate action for more than a decade, and Trump’s election has inspired its leaders to push even harder — with real results.
In Sacramento, even before Trump’s election, Governor Jerry Brown and the legislature had enacted legislation that requires California to cut carbon emissions to at least 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030, while also investing in the communities that are being hardest hit by climate change. When the legislature returns from its summer recess this year, though, Governor Brown will likely have an opportunity to get even more ambitious.
Senate Bill 100, which has already cleared several major hurdles in the legislature, would require California utilities to get at least half of their electricity from clean sources by 2026 instead of the current target of 2030. By 2030, the mandated percentage would be 60 percent. And by 2045, California would get all of its electricity from 100 percent clean, renewable sources. If Governor Brown signs the bill, California would be the second state in the nation (after Hawaii) to formally commit to getting all of its electricity from renewable sources.