Our Roadmap to Combatting Climate Change by Creating Coalitions

In California, the Climate is right to tackle Climate Change.

Here in Silicon Valley, the best ideas are created through collaboration. Our State Capitol has the opportunity to apply this lesson in collaboration, by adopting a recently introduced bi-partisan bill to create a centralized Clean Energy Financing office to provide strategic leadership for coordinated public and private investment.

The bi-partisan bill, AB 383, co-sponsored by the Silicon Valley Leadership Group and Environment California, and supported by the Natural Resources Defense Council, has two well-respected co-authors: Republican Assemblymember Chad Mayes and Democrat Assemblymember Laura Friedman. The Clean Energy Financing office would coordinate across state agencies, engage companies and market participants to deploy and distribute clean energy technology, and guide eager investors in California’s clean energy market to the appropriate agencies and programs.

Climate Change is real. California is already feeling the impact. Wildfires, droughts and sea level rise have threatened our state. For more than three decades, our elected leaders have responded with smart energy policies that have reduced our use of electricity and set examples for other states and nations to follow. The Golden State continues to lead by example with clean energy goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030, achieve 100 percent zero carbon energy by 2045, and transition to a low carbon, climate resilient and equitable economy.

To realize these ambitious goals, a significant investment of public and private dollars is needed. Currently, California has dozens of programs designed to support clean energy financing solutions across several agencies and offices, ranging from rebates for solar homes to tax credits for bus retrofits. While all these clean energy programs may be successful on their own, the sheer number of programs and the variety of managing entities makes coordination difficult. Potential participants in these programs, especially in low income and disadvantaged communities where the private sector may not be investing on its own, need a resource to pursue funding and financing options that fit their needs and leverage private capital.

Just as Republican Chad Mayes and Democrat Laura Friedman have come together to more efficiently and effectively combat climate change, so have the employer and environmental communities. AB 383 is co-sponsored by the CEO-led Silicon Valley Leadership Group of 330 member companies, and environmental leaders at the Natural Resources Defense Council and Environment California. They know that our choice has never been a battle between the environment or the economy. It has always been against the withering effects of climate change, best fought through collaboration between employers and environmental leaders.

You can engage in this important legislation. Contact our Vice President of Energy Tim McRae, who brings two decades of energy and environmental leadership to his role. Tim has worked for business, nonprofit and public sector interests on clean energy, conservation policy, and regulatory issues, focusing on climate change including a Spanish wind development company, the British government, the Planning and Conservation League, and PG&E.

–   Carl Guardino, CEO, Silicon Valley Leadership Group | February 19, 2019