Environment and Green Energy

The Lieutenant Governor serves on several state commissions that make important environmental decisions, including the State Lands Commission, the Ocean Protection Council, and the Boards of Regents of the University of California and California State University systems.  The office also oversees and directs the Commission for Economic Development, which can be an important venue for expanding clean energy and technology jobs.

 

Gavin’s primary environmental goals for the Lieutenant Governor’s Office include:

 

1) Conserving California’s natural resources:

 

California’s land, coast and waterways make California a beautiful and unique place to live. Gavin is working to keep these resources unpolluted and open to all Californians through fostering new policies to expand public access and protect land and water from pollution and inappropriate uses.

Gavin is leading conservation efforts in a variety of ways, including:

 

  • Opposing the expansion of offshore oil drilling. Offshore drilling in California moves us away from a sustainable energy policy that can be a model to the rest of the country;
  • Maximizing accessible open space on state lands. Through the Lieutenant Governor’s seat on the State Lands Commission, fight to keep California’s open spaces accessible to all;
  • As a member of the Oceans Protection Council, work to ensure the full implementation of the recently passed Marine Life Protection Act;
  • Work to secure sustainability certification for all of California’s state fisheries; Securing official sustainability certification for state fisheries will catalyze greater environmental sustainability, ensure adequate implementation of Marine Protected Areas, and expand economic returns to fisherman;
  • Work to secure permanent funding solutions for the California Coastal Commission, insuring their essential mission protection of coastal resources is not compromised.

 

2. Fighting climate change and pollution:

 

California has led the U.S. in efforts to reduce air pollution and fight climate change. California’s long-standing energy policies have lessened power plant pollution and saved consumers billions of dollars. New policies such as the Global Warming Solutions Act (AB32) chart a path toward a cleaner energy future. The Lieutenant Governor can play an important role in this effort:

 

  • Marshaling support for AB32 and other groundbreaking environmental policies that will clean our air and lead American efforts to reduce climate change;
  • Developing a comprehensive planning strategy for public lands based to adapt to changing weather patterns and conditions due to climate change;
  • Limiting land use developments that do not adequately consider the future consequences of climate change (for example development in low lying areas or in regions with little water);
  • Prioritizing research and education toward energy and environmental innovation through his positions on both Boards of Regents.

 

3. Transitioning to clean energy generation:

 

California has led the nation by implementing energy policy to wean our country off fossil fuels.  It is now poised to be the center of new, cleaner energy generation to power our homes, businesses, cars and other forms of transportation. The Lieutenant Governor can play an important role in advancing the transition to cleaner energy generation:

 

  • Through his seat on the State Lands Commission, facilitate renewable energy generation (solar, wind, geothermal, and appropriate biofuel production) on state lands where environmentally appropriate;
  • Promote renewable ocean-based energy. The State Lands Commission and the Ocean Protection Council should aggressively assess the potential of new renewable energy sources in ways that are environmentally appropriate;
  • Expanding the UC and CSU Systems role in leading research and development of new, clean energy technologies. 

 

4. Growing the clean energy economy:

 

California is already well positioned to grow new jobs and capture billions of dollars of investment in the clean technology sector.  Companies in this expanding sector are developing new, cleaner forms of energy and developing jobs across the state.  California currently receives 40% of all clean technology investment in the US.  The Lieutenant Governor can advance this effort by championing policy that grows the clean technology sector. Gavin is pursuing this agenda in several ways:

 

  • Advance an agenda of policies and incentives through the Commission on Economic Development to ensure California retains our ‘first mover’ status as an innovation hub for clean technologies;
  • Support workforce development efforts at the UC and Cal State systems to train the next generation of clean technology professionals.

 

Gavin’s Record on the environment

 

Gavin’s leadership in San Francisco over the last six years has made it one of the greenest cities in the world. As Mayor, Gavin implemented new ground breaking environmental policies to make the city both cleaner and healthier. Gavin’s work making these ambitious ideas a reality has made the city an international leader in this area.

Gavin has:

 

  • Achieved the closure of San Francisco’s remaining two fossil-fuel burning power plants, which are responsible for significant local pollution.  Gavin’s work helped lead to the closure of the Hunters Point power plant in 2006, and closure of the Potrero power plant is scheduled for 2011.
  • Achieved an independently verified 7 percent reduction of greenhouse gas pollution below 1990 levels throughout San Francisco.  This effort involved being the first municipality to register emissions through the California Climate Action Reserve and then aggressively pursuing a range of transportation and energy measures to reduce our emissions.
  • Catalyzed a movement of international mayors to press for climate policy and urban environmental progress through authoring the Urban Environmental Accords in 2005.  Over 100 mayors of major cities throughout the world signed these commitments, including Zurich, Nairobi, Moscow and Tehran. 
  • Authored the strongest municipal green building standards in the U.S. for new construction and major renovations, making both public and private buildings more energy efficient and safer for employees.
  • Prioritized the city budget and program resources to increase landfill diversion. 72 percent of the waste generated in San Francisco is currently recycled or composted.
  • Recently required mandatory recycling and composting in all of San Francisco’s buildings.
  • Became the first city to prohibit usage of disposable plastic bags in large stores.
  • Became the first city to phase out municipal usage of plastic bottles.
  • Implemented the largest municipal rebate program in the country for residential and commercial solar installations.
  • Developed the greenest public transportation fleet in the U.S. Currently, the entire public transportation fleet runs off electricity or bio-fuel.
  • Passed series of regulations that have resulted in roughly half of our city vehicles being CNG or hybrid and 57% of the city’s taxi fleet using hybrid or CNG technology to date.
  • Launched a first of its kind program to collect waste grease from local businesses and convert it to bio-diesel.
  • Implemented the first ever municipal “precautionary principle” to replace use of toxic substances in city services.
  • Retrofitted 17,600 streetlights to replace existing high-pressure sodium vapor cobra heads with energy efficient light emitting diode fixtures.
  • Launched innovative Pavement to Parks program, which has transformed excess pavement into public open spaces.
  • Assembled the first ever Urban/Rural Roundtable Task Force to explore how to increase access to healthy food and support regional farmers issued an Executive Order to change city policy to achieve this goal
  • Assembled an urban wind power task force comprised of renewable industry leaders, environmentalists and local consumers.
  • Organized the Bay Area Electric Vehicle Regional Corridor Initiative, to transform the Bay Area into the electric vehicle capital of the United States.
  • Instituted local carbon offset program funded from a fee on municipal air travel.
  • Created Green Finance SF, which is a city sponsored program to provide $150 million in loans to local residents for energy efficiency, solar, and renewable energy projects and water conservation improvements
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