Sacramento, California - Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today issued the following statement after President Barack Obama announced executive action to accelerate the nation’s transition to cleaner energy sources and more energy-efficient households:
“Today, President Obama is coming to town; he’s proposing billions of dollars in renewable investments and that’s important,” said Governor Brown. “This is another step forward for California homeowners who want renewable energy for their homes.”
Governor Brown’s statement follows remarks earlier today at the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners’ 41st General Convention in Las Vegas. President Obama is speaking this evening at the National Clean Energy Summit in Las Vegas, Nevada after announcing executive action and private sector commitment to developing technology that helps households save on energy bills and transition to cleaner energy sources. This includes measures to help homeowners invest in clean energy and states to further develop solar technologies.
Today’s action from the White House and the Federal Housing Administration on Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing helps homeowners pay for renewable energy and energy and water efficiency upgrades. It builds on California’s PACE reserve fund, which supports mortgage lending with safeguards against default on a property with a PACE lien.
Since the 1970s, California’s building and appliance efficiency standards have saved Californians nearly $90 billion on their utility bills. Nationwide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star Program saves consumers more than $34 billion per year.
Governor Brown is committed to making solar power systems and energy and water efficiency retrofits more affordable and accessible for California homeowners. Earlier this year Governor Brown and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro launched the California Multifamily Property-Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Pilot, which expands financing for clean energy technologies to certain commercial multifamily properties. Last year Governor Brown also bolstered the PACE program by creating a $10 million mortgage loss reserve program. Along with the Obama Administration and bipartisan support in Congress, Governor Brown has continued to support PACE financing for clean energy and energy and water efficient upgrades for California homeowners. As Attorney General, Brown sued to block federal rules that would have stymied the PACE program.
In his inaugural address this year, Governor Brown announced that within the next 15 years, California will increase from one-third to 50 percent the electricity derived from renewable sources; reduce today's petroleum use in cars and trucks by up to 50 percent; double the efficiency savings from existing buildings and make heating fuels cleaner; reduce the release of methane, black carbon and other potent pollutants across industries; and manage farm and rangelands, forests and wetlands so they can store carbon. The impacts of climate change are already being felt in California and will disproportionately impact the state's most vulnerable populations.
As the clock ticks for national governments to reach a deal to reduce harmful emissions ahead of this year's United Nations Climate Change conference in Paris, Governor Brown continues to focus on building and broadening collaboration amongst cities, states and provinces, at the "subnational level." To that end, the Governor traveled to the Vatican last month to participate in a symposium on climate change hosted by the Pontifical Academies of Sciences and Social Sciences and to Toronto, Canada for the Climate Summit of the Americas to call on cities, states and provinces to join California in the fight.
At the summit in Toronto, Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard signed the “Under 2 MOU,” a first-of-its-kind agreement amongst states and provinces around the world to limit the increase in global average temperature to below 2 degrees Celsius - the warming threshold at which scientists say there will likely be catastrophic climate disruptions. Since the agreement was first signed at a Sacramento ceremony in May, other states and provinces joined in June and July and with the addition of Quebec, a total of 18 signatories in nine countries and four continents have committed to action, collectively representing more than $5.3 trillion in GDP and 130 million people.
Earlier this year, Governor Brown issued an executive order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in California 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030 - the most ambitious target in North America and consistent with California's existing commitment to reduce emissions 80 percent under 1990 levels by 2050. The Under 2 MOU builds on other international climate change pacts with leaders from Mexico, China, North America, Japan, Israel and Peru. Governor Brown also helped convene hundreds of world-renowned researchers and scientists to issue a groundbreaking call to action - called the consensus statement - which translates key scientific climate findings from disparate fields into one unified document.