We recently commemorated the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, which began in reaction to the ravages of a massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California, in 1969. Over the past five decades we have seen record heat, melting glaciers, rising seas. We have reached a point where no matter what we do, we likely cannot avoid a very different climate future. We must act now to prevent truly catastrophic consequences.
The League of Women Voters of California has a long history of support for actions to fight climate change and to protect the public from preventable disasters. In June 2019, the LWVC unanimously resolved to declare a climate emergency: "We ... call upon the LWVC Board, Action Committee and local Leagues to advocate for ‘Climate Emergency Declarations’ and urgent relevant action by state, county, and local governments."
Consistent with our history, the LWVC influences climate change policy by taking positions on climate related bills before the California legislature. Here, for example, are LWVC positions on four new climate related bills:
AB 1567 SUPPORT "Organic Waste: Scoping Plan" requires an integrated scoping plan for reducing emissions associated with forestry, agriculture and urban organic waste. LWVC supports this bill because it will increase beneficial reuse of organic waste, capturing pollutants from organic sources and reusing compounds for an environmentally beneficial purpose. For example, composting agricultural or food waste helps return carbon to the soil that would otherwise be lost to the atmosphere. This bill will also provide a healthier environment for all Californians. With better coordinated strategies for dealing with organic waste, we can improve our forest health, water quality, water supply, and carbon emissions on a life-cycle basis. Further, it will improve bureaucratic efficiency by coordinating regulations across sectors.
AB 1941 OPPOSE "California Renewables Portfolio Standard: hydroelectric and nuclear generation and suspension" would temporarily pause the state’s renewable power mandates to provide funds to harden the grid. The League supports more extensive efforts to harden the grid and reduce the risk and impacts of wildfires. However, loosening standards to mitigate climate change is not the way to do it. Loosening standards would slow our progress toward zero carbon, one of the measures that makes a significant difference in slowing climate change.
SB 1052 SUPPORT "Water quality: municipal wastewater agencies" would authorize municipal wastewater agencies to enter into voluntary agreements to improve storm water management and treat storm water as a local water resource. California faces climate projections of higher temperatures coupled with precipitation amounts and patterns much different from those the state’s water management systems and infrastructure were designed to accommodate. Specifically, storm water and dry weather runoff need to be appreciated as resources to be captured and treated for use in groundwater recharge and irrigation. Municipal wastewater agencies have the infrastructure, capacity, and expertise to do this. This legislation will supplement the existing authority of municipal wastewater agencies to make use of this valuable water resource.
SB 1323 SUPPORT "Carbon sequestration" creates CO2 removal targets as a step towards identifying the scope and scale of work needed to reach carbon neutrality. To reach carbon neutrality by 2045, as directed by Governor Brown’s Executive Order No. B-55-18, Californians must both reduce emissions and take CO2 out of the atmosphere and sequester it. This bill creates CO2 removal targets for natural and working lands as a step towards identifying the scope and scale of work needed to reach carbon neutrality.
For a complete list of climate-related bills go to LWVC Climate Change Legislation.
Consider joining the LWVC Climate Change Task Force, a group of over 300 League members across California who are working on climate action. The Task Force has an ambitious agenda. It is now forming state-wide teams to tackle a number of topics related to climate change. As a member of the Task Force you can take climate action at the level that works for you. The Task Force steering team sends periodic notifications on climate change issues, events, and actions. It shares its work to make the whole much better than the parts. Join the team. Contact the Task Force at firstname.lastname@example.org.