Matt Vespa

Senior Attorney Clean Energy Program


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Based in San Francisco, Matt Vespa works to dismantle the fossil fuel industry by rapidly decarbonizing California.

His work focuses on accelerating deployment of clean energy in California and avoiding new investments in fossil fuel infrastructure. Matt’s areas of expertise include utility procurement, local reliability need, rooftop solar tariffs, rate design, energy storage, renewable integration, and decarbonization trajectories.

Matt has successfully opposed new proposed gas plants and pipelines, exposed gas utility obstruction of climate progress, and advocated for policies to transition away from gas combustion in buildings to safer, healthy all-electric homes.

Prior to joining Earthjustice, Matt worked on clean energy-related advocacy at the Sierra Club and at the Center for Biological Diversity where he developed the law and policy related to the analysis of greenhouse gas impacts under the California Environmental Quality Act. Matt also served as a law clerk at the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York for the Honorable Nicholas G. Garaufis.

Matt holds a law degree from the U.C. Berkeley School of Law, where he was elected Order of the Coif, a master’s in conservation biology from the University of Pennsylvania and a bachelor’s in biology from the University of Pennsylvania. Matt was also a Peace Corps volunteer in Paraguay where he worked with local farmers on sustainable forestry practices, learned to speak Guarani, and developed an addiction to yerba mate that persists to this day.

Matt was the recipient of the 2016 Environmental Leadership Award from the Ecology Law Quarterly at U.C. Berkeley School of Law, where he teaches Renewable Energy Law and Policy.

The Latest from Matt Vespa

March 26, 2024

In the News: KQED

San Francisco Will Continue Enforcing New-Building Gas Ban Despite Berkeley’s Repeal of Similar Rules

“Thankfully, since 2019, cities and local air quality agencies have developed a wide variety of policy paths to move forward, from energy codes to air quality protections, to protect their residents and help us all step into a zero-emissions future. The future is clean energy, and nothing can hold that back.”
People hold signs in front of a gated facility. One says "SoCalGas makes me sick"
January 17, 2024

You Shouldn’t Have to Pay for Utility Shenanigans in Your Energy Bill

New legislation can stop utilities like SoCalGas from abusing customer money to fight climate action.
December 5, 2022

In the News: Utility Dive

California requires permits for large natural gas projects to enable environmental and cost scrutiny

“We are finally getting visibility on utility gas projects.”
September 28, 2021

In the News: Sunset

More Homeowners Are Ditching Gas. It’s Time to Flip the Switch to an All-Electric House

“If we want to decarbonize, we know we need gas out of the home.”
August 9, 2021

In the News: A Matter of Degrees

The Devious Plan to Keep Us Hooked on Gas

On building electrification
May 10, 2021

In the News: E&E News

Calif. aims to cut gas use in homes, stops short of ban

"We're in a climate crisis. We have to stop building gas infrastructure. Climate leadership isn't about incrementalism anymore. We need bold aggressive action to get off fossil fuels and this was a missed opportunity."
May 7, 2021

In the News: Renewable Energy Magazine

California releases proposed 2022 building code update

“The 2022 code update is a step in the right direction, but with the health and prosperity of millions of Californians hanging in the balance, we can no longer be satisfied with incremental progress. California is still expanding the gas system more quickly than any other state in the nation, even as the UN this week highlights that that expansion is incompatible with a habitable planet. We need to strengthen this code and need a solid commitment from policymakers for pollution-free buildings in 2025, or California risks being a major barrier to national emissions reduction goals.”
April 29, 2021

In the News: How to Save a Planet

Listener Mail: Is Renewable Natural Gas a Scam?

"You got busted, and you're out. And they just kind of slinkered away."
March 24, 2021

In the News: Utility Dive

SoCalGas announces net-zero emission goal by 2045, but some stakeholders remain skeptical

"The fundamentals are that the potential of both renewable natural gas and hydrogen pipeline injection are extremely limited and California will only meet its climate objectives through widespread electrification of gas end uses like space and water heating. Until SoCalGas stops obstructing progress on reducing reliance on fossil fuels though electrification, its climate pledges ring hollow."
February 19, 2021

In the News: The San Diego Union-Tribune

Why all the hoopla about hydrogen?

"There's this broader play by the gas industry to suggest there's some Holy Grail that will allow us to keep the gas system running as it currently does, just with a different fuel."
January 12, 2021

In the News: Oregon Public Broadcasting

Questions loom over the future of natural gas in Oregon

“This is not just a climate issue. It’s a public health issue and an air pollution issue. There are serious health impacts from this. I think it’s going to be looked back at like, ‘Why were we smoking cigarettes at home?’”
January 10, 2021

In the News: Santa Barbara News-Press

Council to discuss energy reach code

“This is a gas industry-driven obstruction.”
January 4, 2021

In the News: Scientific American

California Is Closing the Door to Gas in New Homes

"We don't have another three years to wait on this."
A couple shops for appliances in a home goods store
March 16, 2020

Californians Want to Stop Burning Gas in Their Homes

In a new poll, 70% of Californians said they prefer efficient electric appliances powered by clean electricity instead of fossil gas.
A truck leaves the Aliso Canyon facility in Los Angeles, where the largest gas leak in U.S. history occurred three years ago.
January 4, 2019

We Shouldn’t Have to Pay for Gas Company’s Lobbying

Families in some parts of California are footing the bill for a multi-million dollar lobbying effort to stop California’s clean energy progress.