Electrify California industry

What's At Stake

If you asked a random smattering of folks to name the largest manufacturing state in the country, I suspect you would hear a lot of folks say Michigan, or perhaps Pennsylvania. I don’t think many would peg California as the nation’s largest manufacturing state, but it is. From food manufacturing to glass to cement, we have more manufacturing jobs in California than any other state in the country. This is something we should be proud of, but we should also look squarely at the downsides. 

These factories create good jobs and make important products, but they also pollute — a lot. Industrial emissions are roughly a quarter of all greenhouse gases produced in California. Our strategy to clean up factories to date has been to label them “hard to decarbonize” and do almost nothing.  

We can’t afford that attitude any longer. 

So where do we start? With a plan to meet California’s goals. This year, Assemblymember Marc Berman introduced AB 2083, which directs the state to start creating that blueprint. The bill directs the California Energy Commission to work with other agencies to look at these issues and draft an electrification roadmap. It creates the space to get the best minds together to make this the sector formerly known as “hard to decarbonize.” 

Tell your legislators to support AB 2083. 

Consider the food and beverage industry. California has more food manufacturing facilities than any other state. We’re world leaders in making not just food, but fun food: the mac and cheese eaten with family, the beer and wine enjoyed with friends on the weekend, the tortilla chips in your nachos. We make it all here in California. And today, that food production depends on methane gas — a lot of it. In Southern California, food manufacturing uses more methane gas than any industrial sector outside of the oil and chemical refineries. 

The fossil fuel industry wants to preserve this profit stream and is actively sowing doubt about proven zero-emissions technologies. 

In addition to the critical issue of climate change, California also has a longstanding air quality crisis that sickens residents who breathe polluted air on a daily basis. These toxic emissions don’t harm Californians equally, either. An alarming 81% of NOx emissions from the food manufacturing industry are pumped out in communities already bearing the brunt of air pollution in the state. With clean energy technologies, we can clean the air in these communities as we reduce CO2 emissions, and there’s no reason not to do it. 

AB 2083 is the first bill of its kind anywhere in the country, but it won’t be the last. An industrial electrification roadmap will serve not only Californians, but states across the U.S. that can emulate and build on California’s leadership.  

Tell your legislators to vote for AB 2083. 

A man takes a chip off a conveyer belt in a large industrial facility.
An employee inspects tortilla chips as they are processed on a conveyor at the La Reina Tortilla factory in San Bernardino, California. (Watchara Phomicinda / MediaNews Group / The Press-Enterprise via Getty Images)

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