Senator Stern to Introduce Legislation Answering Governor Brown’s Call for Increased Public Investment in Technology Innovation to Combat Climate Change

January 25, 2018

SACRAMENTO – In his final State of the State address, Governor Jerry Brown warned that because of the increasing damage being wrought on Californians by climate change “we have to innovate constantly and create all manner of shelter, machines and creative technologies. That will continue, but only with ever greater public and private investment.” 

In response, Senator Henry Stern (D-Canoga Park) announced legislation to secure a long-term funding commitment to assemble the brightest minds in the world to lead California’s public investments in researching, developing and demonstrating game-changing energy and environmental technologies.   

“California thinks big, because we are big,” noted Senator Stern. “But our boldest ambitions for climate change progress must be matched with a commitment to innovation that is equally bold or we won’t get there.

“With looming cuts to federal funding for research and development (R&D) in clean energy and climate change, California has an opportunity to harness its creative talent, market power, and political courage to take the pole position in the global innovation race.  Or we could cede that to position to China.  The choice is ours.”

Californians currently spend about $50 billion on petroleum annually—more than any nation in the world except for the US and China.  But for every dollar California spends at the pump, the state only invests 1 cent into breaking its addiction.  The cap-and-trade program offers a potential funding stream to shift that trend.  

“Scientists, engineers and inventors don’t have a big lobby, so innovation funding typically falls to the back of the line.  But that is a mistake that will catch up with us.  R&D has been the best bang for taxpayer bucks of any public investment—look no further than your smart phone to see the result. The Governor’s proposal may not yield much short term political gain, but sometimes prudence must prevail,” concluded Stern. 


Henry Stern is Chair of the Senate Committee on Elections and Constitutional Amendments, and the first millennial elected to the Senate. Senator Stern also serves on Energy, Utilities and Communications, Environmental Quality, Judiciary, and Natural Resources and Water. He represents nearly 1 million residents of the 27th District living in east Ventura County and northwest Los Angeles County.

Contact:  Phone: (805) 822-9694