By tradition, a California governor’s second-term inaugural address is a good indicator of how the term-limited chief executive of America’s nation-state plans to ride off into the sunset. Pete Wilson’s second-term inaugural, delivered 20 years ago, included talk of shrinking government (lower taxes and less regulation) to spur economic growth.
In one of the more memorable statements in his fourth inaugural address, Governor Brown pledged to ensure that California would cut the usage of petroleum in the state’s vehicles by up to 50 percent by 2030. While the Governor’s proposal got a lot of publicity, on closer examination, it figures to be far more sizzle than steak.
In his annual State of the State address, Governor Brown outlined ambitious goals for taking California’s climate change policies to the next level. Historically, our state has held the position of groundbreaking leadership when it comes to aggressive environmental programs, so it comes as no surprise that Governor Brown wants to expand on this trend by enacting even more aggressive policies aimed at 2030 and 2050 climate change goals.
Aiming to fulfill Governor Brown’s State of the State proposals, Senate President Pro Tem, Kevin de León, introduced a portfolio of climate change legislation in early February. Unlike Brown, however, who spent 23 percent of his address proposing the climate change agenda and defending further action on moral grounds, de León framed his actions as a way to “make sure California keeps leading in building the new economy of tomorrow.”
In January, Governor Jerry Brown announced a goal for Californians to double the planned level of savings from energy efficiency improvements in existing buildings by 2030 and develop cleaner heating fuels. Hitting these very high targets in just 15 years “will take great thought and imagination,” the Governor said, and “require enormous innovation, research and investment.”