Last year, I was proud to co-author SB 54 (Allen), the strongest plastics reduction law in the country. It requires by 2032 that 100% of packaging in the state be recyclable or compostable and that 65% of all single-use plastic packaging be recycled, amongst other provisions. Setting ambitious goals such as these, and finding paths to achieving them, is how California has cemented itself as a global leader in combating climate change.
California has also set a goal of achieving net zero carbon pollution by no later than 2045, while additionally ensuring an 85% cut in greenhouse gas emissions. In order to reach this goal, we all need to be part of the solution, and the state needs to find ways of helping communities and industries contribute to progress.
While the state has made significant and sustained investments toward programs dedicated to reducing California’s greenhouse gas emissions, I believe we need to do more to empower our small business community in helping to achieve these goals.
California small businesses account for 99.8% of businesses. Of the state’s 4.1 million small businesses, 1.2 million are minority owned. An individual small business can have a relatively small carbon footprint, but the overall impact of those emissions can be huge. To meet our clean energy goals, we must create measures that incentivize small businesses to make clean energy investments.
Despite the significant role that minority small businesses have in the clean energy transition, there remains a huge gap in minority small business enterprise participation in the market transition to a low carbon future. Small businesses may lack the same resources and support that larger corporations have when it comes to reducing emissions and implementing new technologies and operations.
It is essential that minority enterprises actively participate in delivering solutions that help California achieve its aggressive climate goals, which is why I am authoring AB 1198 to establish the Equity in Energy Task Force to develop a comprehensive strategy aimed at addressing equity in the energy industry and increasing the participation rate of women, minorities, disabled individuals and veteran-owned businesses, as well as individuals from disadvantaged communities.
This Task Force will take a complete look at all the energy-related mandates and policies within California and identify gaps that may exist for minority-owned businesses and their employees. The Task Force will also work to identify available tax credits, grants and workforce training funding, and provide recommendations on addressing barriers to access to the energy industry and how to increase participation levels among underrepresented communities.
AB 1198 will help California achieve its climate goals, support our essential small businesses and provide resources to create community wealth-building opportunities. I’m proud to have the California Asian Pacific Chamber of Commerce, the California African American Chamber of Commerce and the California Hispanic Chambers of Commerce co-sponsoring the legislation.
If you would like to learn more about AB 1198, or other legislation I’m supporting to help California fight climate change, contact my Concord District Office at 925-521-1511.