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Does California Need Its Own "Green New Deal?"


Last month congressional freshman representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez helped lay out a grand plan for the nation to address climate change. It's called the Green New Deal.

"We must be as ambitious and innovative in our solution as possible." [6 seconds]

It draws from California's climate goals. But does California need a new Green New Deal of its own? CapRadio's Ezra David Romero explores.

The world has just 12 years to limit global warming to moderate levels, according to a recent United Nations study. Democratic State Senator Nancy Skinner says California already has a Green New Deal. Think of cap and trade and the goal of 100 percent clean electric power by 2045.

 "It's a good green deal, but it needs to be even stronger within that window that science is telling us is a must."

The federal Green New Deal isn't specific but alludes to a total reworking of the energy, transportation and manufacturing sectors. California has a head start on this, but Democratic State Senator Henry Stern says more is needed. He's working on a plan for the state to invest $100 billion dollars to reduce carbon emissions and reliance on fossil fuels by 2030.

"There are things that we got to do, but we just got to do them fast. If you plugged in and didn't fill up, you'd spend half as much money."

But not everybody thinks California needs a fast-tracked Green New Deal. Rob Lapsley is president of the California Business Roundtable.

"We do not need to change the path. You're talking about transforming our entire economy through energy policy and you don't do that overnight."

He says California needs time to evaluate whether its current climate plans are working and whether they benefit all Californians or just a few.

In Sacramento, I’m Ezra David Romero.

Ezra David Romero is an award-winning radio reporter and producer. His stories have run on Morning Edition, Morning Edition Saturday, Morning Edition Sunday, All Things Considered, Here & Now, The Salt, Latino USA, KQED, KALW, Harvest Public Radio, etc.