NEWS Build Back Better on Climate with Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senator Alex Padilla


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Octo­ber 14, 2021: Build Back Bet­ter on Cli­mate Press Event

RAEL direc­tor Dan Kam­men had the plea­sure to appear with

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Sen­a­tor Alex Padilla (D-​​CA), Eddie Ahn, Exec­u­tive Direc­tor, Bright­line Defense, and Rev. Sally Bing­ham, Pres­i­dent Emer­i­tus, Regen­er­a­tion Project.

Com­ments by Daniel Kammen

Advi­sor for Inno­v­a­tive Energy Solu­tions, US Agency for Inter­na­tional Devel­op­ment (USAID)


James and Kather­ine Lau Dis­tin­guished Pro­fes­sor of Sustainability

Energy and Resources Group & Gold­man School of Pub­lic Pol­icy, & Dept of Nuclear Eng., UC Berkeley

For­mer Sci­ence Envoy, US Depart­ment of State

Coor­di­nat­ing Lead Author, Inter­gov­ern­men­tal Panel on Cli­mate Change (IPCC)

Twit­ter: @dan_kammen | URL: http://​rael​.berke​ley​.edu


I could not be more hon­ored than to share the stage with these remark­able Cal­i­for­ni­ans who are craft­ing pro-​​climate, pro-​​justice poli­cies for a healthy state and fed­eral econ­omy.  Thank you, Speaker Pelosi and Sen­a­tor Padilla for your efforts and com­mit­ment to a just, inclu­sive, and sus­tain­able energy transition.

Cal­i­for­nia is com­mit­ted to a car­bon neu­tral econ­omy by 2045, and is in dis­cus­sions to move that date for­ward.  This com­mit­ment has already gen­er­ated eco­nomic and jus­tice returns for res­i­dents of the state, and for our neigh­bors and trad­ing partners.

As part of SB32 and SB100, Cal­i­for­nia com­mit­ted 35% or more (a floor, not ceil­ing) of its Cap & Trade rev­enue funds to meet­ing the needs of com­mu­ni­ties of color, of under-​​served and of fence-​​line com­mu­ni­ties.  The jobs and equity ben­e­fits of this pol­icy are already clear: Cal­i­for­nia now has sev­eral times more jobs in the clean energy sec­tor than in the fossil-​​fuel and cur­rent util­ity sec­tors.  Pres­i­dent Biden’s Justice40 and the Build Back Bet­ter Act builds on the Cal­i­for­nia goal with an expanded fed­eral effort that invests in smart infra­struc­ture to cre­ate jobs, that will also clean the air and water in the most needy com­mu­ni­ties nationwide.

The move to low-​​carbon elec­tric vehi­cle mobil­ity and freight trans­porta­tion addresses the largest remain­ing share of Cal­i­for­nia pol­lu­tion, with over 1 mil­lion EV now in use across the state[1].  Jus­tice is vital to meet­ing cli­mate and com­mu­nity goals. Com­mit­ments by ride-​​sharing com­pa­nies to 100% EV vehi­cles fleets by 2030 and mak­ing low-​​cost lease deals avail­able to dri­vers is an excel­lent exam­ple of a com­mit­ment that can be brought for­ward in time and expanded nation­wide[2].

A clean energy econ­omy is huge lift, but it is not enough.  We must re-​​invest in healthy forests, fire-​​safe com­mu­ni­ties, and a healthy ocean[3].  Build Back Bet­ter begins that rein­vest­ment while launch­ing new sus­tain­able eco­nomic sec­tors such as off-​​shore wind, green hydro­gen, advanced energy stor­age, afford­able green homes, and smart build­ings[4].

The world is mov­ing to clean energy – over the last 2 years, 90% of new power plants installed world­wide over use renew­able energy. The Build Back Bet­ter Act will cre­ate oppor­tu­ni­ties for US exports, and accel­er­ate all of these crit­i­cally impor­tant clean invest­ments in impres­sive pro-​​job and pro-​​justice ways. As the US gets ready for the inter­na­tional cli­mate con­fer­ence (COP26) next month in Glas­gow, Scot­land, the Build Back Bet­ter Act is what we need eco­nom­i­cally, socially, envi­ron­men­tally, and morally. It is time to act.

[1]   Scott Wiener and Daniel Kam­men (2021) “Why hous­ing pol­icy is cli­mate pol­icy,” The New York Times, March 25, 2019. http://​www​.nytimes​.com/​2​0​1​9​/​0​3​/​2​5​/​o​p​i​n​i​o​n​/​c​a​l​i​f​o​r​n​i​a​-​h​o​m​e​-​p​r​i​c​e​s​-​c​l​i​m​a​t​e​.​h​tml

[2]   Daniel Kam­men (2020) “How elec­tric vehi­cles can help advance social jus­tice,” The San Fran­cisco Chron­i­cle, June 21. https://​www​.sfchron​i​cle​.com/​o​p​i​n​i​o​n​/​a​r​t​i​c​l​e​/​H​o​w​-​e​l​e​c​t​r​i​c​-​v​e​h​i​c​l​e​s​-​c​a​n​-​h​e​l​p​-​a​d​v​a​n​c​e​-​s​o​c​i​a​l​-​1​5​3​5​1​2​9​3​.​php

[3]   Such as The Blue Cli­mate Ini­tia­tive, https://​www​.blue​cli​mateini​tia​tive​.org & USAID’s Clean Cities, Blue Ocean Pro­gram,–2021-united-states-launches-clean-cities-blue-ocean-program-tackle-plastic-pollution

[4]   Daniel Kam­men and Manuel Pas­tor (2021) “Car­bon neu­tral isn’t good enough.  Cal­i­for­nia needs to be car­bon neg­a­tive by 2030,” The San Fran­cisco Chron­i­cle, July 31. https://​www​.sfchron​i​cle​.com/​o​p​i​n​i​o​n​/​o​p​e​n​f​o​r​u​m​/​a​r​t​i​c​l​e​/​C​a​r​b​o​n​-​n​e​u​t​r​a​l​-​i​s​n​-​t​-​g​o​o​d​-​e​n​o​u​g​h​-​C​a​l​i​f​o​r​n​i​a​-​1​6​3​5​1​1​4​9​.​php

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