By Kristen Johnson
It’s a great day to be a Californian! Governor Jerry Brown signed into law two new laws to fight climate change – SB32 and AB197. With any luck, the rest of the country is paying attention and will start working to pass similar legislation.
According to NPR, these two laws will work to reducing 1990 emission levels 40% by 2030. California will increase the use of renewable energy (finally!), curb emissions from certain industries, encourage the use of electric vehicles, and provide aid to low-income communities near polluting facilities. (NPR).
As usual, this forward movement was opposed by the oil industry and Republicans. “Taken together, SB32 and AB197, impose severe caps on the emission of greenhouse gases in California, without requiring the regulatory agencies to give any consideration to the impacts on our economy, disruptions in everyone’s daily lives or the fact that California’s population will grow almost 50 percent between 1990 and 2030.” (NPR)
It’s really sad that California Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Allan Zaremberg (who made this outlandish statement) focuses on supposed impacts to the economy and inconveniences to daily life. It seems somewhat more inconvenient to face long-term health problems from the foul air we breath, the polluted water we drink, etc. And the fact that our population will be growing dictates that we will need renewable energy even more, and the jobs that come along with the industry!
California is definitely making progress. The next logical step should be to start strictly regulating the meat industry and encouraging plant-based diets. There are many, many studies showing over and over again that emissions are higher, water usage is higher, and pollution is higher for meat production than for vegetarian/vegan food.
A new report published in the journal Climatic Change compared greenhouse gas emissions attributable to more than 55,000 meat-eaters, fish-eaters, vegetarians and vegans in the U.K. The researchers found that meat-eaters’ dietary greenhouse gas emissions were twice as high as vegans’.
The production, transportation and storage of food greatly contributes to emissions, the study points out. These emissions range from carbon dioxide related to fossil fuels used to power farm machinery, to the methane released by livestock. Animal-based products tend to release more emissions than plant-based products due to the methane animals can produce and the inefficiencies in growing livestock feed. (Huffington Post)
So, we still have a long way to go. But, today, it’s great to be able to focus on the progress made in California! It’s always great to count our blessings, as God would want us to do.
1 Chronicles 16:34 (NRSV): O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever.
Jerry Brown rocks. California rocks. God is good.
Serve all with love.
Photo courtesy of: https://www.flickr.com/photos/jerm182