In a joint hearing Thursday on achieving carbon neutrality, lawmakers dove into the many obstacles and tradeoffs of California's 2045 goal. Uncertainty over oil prices following the Russian invasion of Ukraine fueled calls for accelerating that transition to net zero emissions to achieve energy independence.
Republican Assemblymember Heath Flora of the Northern San Joaquin Valley, however, said his constituents are tremendously concerned the carbon neutrality goal will cause the cost of living to skyrocket. Flora worried the conversation has been weighted too heavily toward urban districts rather than the Central Valley.
He encouraged the state to work with industries like agriculture on a phased approach that would avoid massive costs to communities.
“Right now there is not an electric tractor out there, and we currently are the breadbasket of the world,” said Flora.
As a success story for incentivizing change, he cited the FARMER program for replacing tractors. And Flora again stressed the importance of incentivizing carbon sequestration on agricultural lands. Others pressed for policies that would advance hydrogen trucks and tractors in agriculture and other industries, following the UK's lead.