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Solar panels are mounted atop the roof of the Los Angeles Convention Center

Solar panels are mounted atop the roof of the Los Angeles Convention Center on September 5, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Amid Demands California Goes Beyond 'Climate Capitalism,' Gov. Brown Signs 100% Renewables by 2045 Into Law

"So much credit is due to community groups around California that turned the fires and droughts and floods into fuel for significant climate action," says Bill McKibben

Andrea Germanos

Climate groups are praising the work of local organizers after California Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law on Monday legislation committing the state to 100 percent clean electricity by 2045—a move that coincided with a direct action in San Francsico where frontline communites rallied to demand an end to "climate capitalism."

"Good organizing pays off!" declared Bill McKibben, co-founder of 350.org, after Brown signed the landmark bill. "So much credit is due to community groups around California that turned the fires and droughts and floods into fuel for significant climate action."

SB 100, authored by California state Senator Kevin de León, also bumps up the timeline for the state's clean energy goals from 50 percent by 2030 to 60 percent by 2030.

The action by the world's fifth-largest economy, said Environment America's chairman Doug Phelps, showed that "California is lighting a path for decision makers from around the world." President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord made such "subnational action... crucial," he added.

Indeed, Annie Notthoff, director of California advocacy for San Francisco and Sacramento at NRDC, noted that the new law "stands in stark contrast to the backpedaling by the Trump Administration, which continues to eviscerate our national commitment to reducing climate pollution and instead search for ways to subsidize dirty, expensive fossil fuels."

Yet while it represents "a goal worth celebrating," Oakland-based Miya Yoshitani, executive director of the Asian Pacific Environmental Network, said, "The critical question now is whether the transition to 100 percent renewable energy will be a just transition that benefits everyone, especially workers and communities most impacted by pollution and climate change."

Yoshitani made the remarks in San Francisco, where the grassroots-led alliance It Takes Roots staged a direction action to make sure the upcoming Global Climate Action Summit, spearheaded by Brown, puts the needs of communities above the profits of corporations, and to demand that the "climate profiteers" present for the gathering of the Brown's Task Force on Climate take their cues from those most affected by climate crisis, not a small group of power-wielders.

A call-to-action for the event—which came just two days after a 30,000-strong #RiseForClimate action in San Francisco—asserted that the governor's

promotion of carbon trading markets and other perverse subsidies to oil, gas, and other polluting corporations only perpetuates climate change, and decimates Indigenous communities and Native nations, communities of color and other working class peoples throughout California and around the world.

Such incentives for "climate capitalism" will turn frontline communities into sacrifice zones for decades to come, and despite Brown's attempts to prove he is different from Trump and the dark forces of climate denial, his "climate leadership" promotes the same corporate agenda—aimed at expanding the dig, burn, drive, dump industries destroying our communities and the air, land, and water we depend on.

The summit kicks off Wednesday and features other governors and global mayors as well as noted figures including former Vice President Al Gore, AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka, and Green for All CEO Vien Truong.


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