As the White House changes course on climate change, California presses forward.

February 3, 2017

With cheese and shrimp cocktail piled on their plates, guests strolled the exhibit like patrons at an art gallery, sipping beer and pausing to ponder the displays that lined the room. But instead of paintings or sculptures, they were examining scientific charts about climate change at a state environmental agency according to a January 29, 2017 Los Angeles Times report.

At a time when President Trump’s new administration is ordering federal government scientists to stop communicating with the public, the array of data depicting carbon sequestration, ocean acidification and water temperatures at a conference on climate change was for some a political act of defiance.

“We just have to push even harder than before,” said Patricia Hidalgo-Gonzalez, a UC Berkeley student who brought her research on the electricity grid. “Regardless of what happens in the rest of the country, California is going to stick with clean energy. We can be our own little island.”

California has always charted its own course on cleaning up the air, clamping down on tailpipe emissions decades ago to fight smog in Los Angeles before the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was even created in 1970. But the gap between Sacramento and Washington was growing into a chasm only a week after Trump took the oath of office.

California emits only 1% of the world’s greenhouse gases, but the state has tried to transform itself into an international model for fighting global warming. While Trump talks about withdrawing from the Paris climate accord, officials here continue seeking new partners for the state’s own, more ambitious international agreement.

Gov. Jerry Brown, in his State of the State speech January 24th, said California wouldn’t step back from its agenda no matter what happens in Washington, a message repeatedly emphasized by top state leaders at the climate conference.

“This is when you do your best work,” said John Laird, secretary of the Natural Resources Agency. “We can’t worry about pulling back just to sink with everyone else who isn’t moving at all.

What this means to you
Long before the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was created in 1970, California was charting its own course on cleaning up the air. But the gap between Sacramento and Washington was growing into a chasm only a week after Trump took the oath of office.

MIRATECH can help
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