Climate Action Needed Now — Silicon Valley Innovation Can Provide the Solutions We Need

The latest news from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is daunting, at best — it’s the world’s most authoritative statement yet that the climate is already changing for the worse, and that humans have caused the problem. The good news is that we can avoid the worst impacts of climate change with technologies that Silicon Valley Leadership Group member companies create and policies we collectively support.

The IPCC report may feel like a shock, but it really just confirms what we already knew. It comes as no surprise to Californians that droughts are more likely, wildfire season has lengthened, and sea levels are rising – we see it all happening here, in real time. This report crystallizes the causal effect of human activity.

It also says that humans can still limit the worst impacts of climate if we act now, which SVLG companies stand ready to do. The necessary technologies are here – renewable energy, storage, energy efficiency, demand response, zero emission vehicles. And with SVLG companies in every one of these verticals, we are poised to assist with the coming efforts.

What we need are policies and incentives to promote them.

At the federal level, for the first time in over a decade, we see hope for large-scale promotion of clean energy. The Leadership Group supports long-term extensions and expansions to the Production Tax Credit and Investment Tax Credit for renewable energy. We should also extend and modernize tax incentives for energy efficiency and zero emission vehicles as well as charging infrastructure, combined with incentives for manufacturing clean energy and clean transportation in the U.S. Inclusion of this set of tax breaks can speed up adoption of these cutting-edge technologies and help us compete globally for the jobs of the future.

The Leadership Group also supports creation of a federal Clean Energy Accelerator to invest in green energy opportunities, leverage private investment, and create millions of jobs in the next generation of clean energy technologies. This follows the model of successful “Green Banks” in Connecticut and New York and can help bring technologies to scale at the pace needed to address the climate crisis.

Finally, we need policies at the state level to encourage use of clean energy. The Leadership Group has supported a number of policies that set long-term greenhouse gas reduction and clean energy goals, including SB 32 in 2016 and SB 100 in 2018 mandating a zero-carbon grid by 2045. But we need to do more. One set of solutions that needs more state support are distributed energy resources. This includes rooftop solar, storage batteries behind the meter, and demand response — all solutions that SVLG member companies provide.

We can still avoid the truly apocalyptic scenarios outlined in the IPCC report if we can gather together and act.