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Stern Takes On Climate Emergency 

Senator Henry Stern (D-Los Angeles) is leading a diverse coalition in Sacramento, seeking immediate funding and long-term solutions to the climate disasters facing California.

“The heat waves, fires, and drought we are trying to survive require immediate solutions, but real answers demand a completely new scale of ambition,” said the second-term Senator, who lost his own home in the Woolsey Fire of 2018.

A United Nations report released Monday brings home the scale of the climate disaster facing California and the globe. Authored by more than 230 leading scientists from countries around the world, the report called for “immediate, rapid and sustained reductions in greenhouse gas emissions” in order to limit global temperature rise to slow, and eventually reverse, the effects of climate change.

“We cannot allow ourselves to take shelter in incrementalism or self-congratulation when it comes to climate in California,” continued Stern, who chairs the Senate Natural Resources & Water Committee and the Joint Legislative Committee on Emergency Management. “We are the tip of the spear. The only way to hold strong is to aim higher than ever. If vulnerable communities continue to live at the margins, things will fall apart.”

All of the bills noted below will be before the Assembly Appropriations Committee after the Legislature reconvenes on August 16 following its summer recess. The only exception to that is AB 585, which will be before the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Wildfire & Extreme Heat 

SB 63, The Wildfire Resilience through Community and Ecology Act, will establish a Fire Resiliency Corps at the state and neighborhood level and is designed to link with the President’s Civilian Climate Corps proposal and the Governor’s proposal to offer California-based service work in evangelical service in exchange for debt free college education in California. It is a component of the Civilian Climate Corps proposal pending in Congress.

SB 533, the Power Shutoff Prevention & Disclosure Act, forces utilities to disclose in their wildfire mitigation plans the energy circuits prone to public safety power shutoff (PSPS) events and their plans to reduce the risks and impacts of PSPS events that severely impact communities, small businesses, schools and local governments. AB 585 (L. Rivas – Stern ) creates the Extreme Heat and Community Resilience Program to address extreme heat and the urban heat island effect (UHIE) and provide financial help to local communities that want to improve resilience to extreme heat and UHIE.

“While we’ve passed a budget framework, we have yet to work out the details around how we’re going to spend nearly a billion dollars in fire prevention money and deal with the extreme heat that is devastating the vulnerable populations in communities up and down the state,” said Stern. “As discussions over the budget continue, those are two critical areas where there is a lot of work left to do.”

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