Sustainability

Climate change is no longer an inconvenient truth, it is an undeniable fact.

We are faced with an existential crisis: the same industrial society that yields us unprecedented levels of entertainment, convenience, and comfort, is simultaneously destroying the very habitability of our planet that allows for the continued survival of the human race.

If we as a society intend to enjoy the quality of life we have become accustomed to, while also providing for a livable future that our children may come to enjoy, the choice is clear: we must act with dogged determination and urgency to transition away from fossil fuels.

The solution is two-fold:

1) We must strive to enact energy-efficiency initiatives throughout our economy in order to reduce energy consumption, such as high-efficiency heating and cooling systems, better home insulation, more efficient lighting and appliances, and battery storage facilities.

2) We must also generate large sums of clean energy to power our economy.

As a city councilmember, it will be my mission to make ambitious gains in respect to both of these objectives, and while I believe the first is low-hanging fruit, it is by no means insignificant. It is the second objective however, that I would like to make my grand achievement.

Currently the state of California has set its 100% renewable energy target to 2045, but with the adoption of recent innovations, state legislators have the promise of meeting previous targets much ahead of schedule.

Personally, since reading about how Scotland powers every home in their country with offshore wind energy, I have been fascinated by the recent emergence of this technology and how it might be utilized to meet state and federal goals of decarbonizing the Californian economy.

I understand these projects are very capital-intensive, but it is my belief that the presence of both large companies with stated commitments toward sustainability (Google, Genentech, etc.), as well as CCA’s willing to buy and invest in renewable energy directly (Peninsula Clean Energy) makes a perfect combination for the possibility of locally-owned and regulated energy sources (something even more important as the solvency of PG&E is brought into question!).

Of course, this will involve a great deal of municipal, county, state, and federal coordination and funding, which I imagine will ultimately take the form of a Private-Public Partnership leading to a Power Purchase Agreement on the part of these companies and county. I should mention that the DOD has yet to even consider this section of the coast available for lease, but other counties are currently exploring the possibility of offshore wind in California.

The outcome of all of this would be that the numerous corporate complexes located in SSF and San Bruno will have 100% clean energy during the day, while the residents of these cities would then have a 100% clean energy source in the evening and nighttime.

I understand that this plan is incredibly ambitious, but we should recognize that we as a city, county, and state can and should be doing things others can only dream of. We must also acknowledge that piecemeal reforms will never be enough, both in scope and in immediacy.

Together we can build a sustainable future for ourselves and our children.