It's hard to recall a time when California has not served as a bellwether for national environmental policy. The Golden State's size, measured in terms of consumer market, Congressional delegation, or cultural reach, has given California singular clout for many years. The state's aggressive early moves on air quality, greenhouse gas regulation, energy efficiency and renewables have set the terms for much of the national debate and policymaking on those topics, with California's recent influence unmistakably evident in the regulatory policies of dozens of other states.
There has likely never been a time when the key energy and environmental policymaking seats in Washington have been filled by so many senior political figures steeped in California's view of policy. We are entering an era when California's influence on environmental and energy policy seems likely to shift from being substantial to being determinative. For those who have interests in the areas of climate, energy and environmental policy, this roster probably should have the feel of a crystal ball:
- Speaker of the House of Representatives: Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D.CA)
- Chairman, House Committee on Energy and Commerce: Rep. Henry Waxman (D.CA)
- Chairman, Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works: Sen. Barbara Boxer (D.CA)
- Nominee, Chairman of President's Council on Environmental Quality: Nancy Sutley, Deputy Mayor for Energy and Environment, Los Angeles
- Nominee, Secretary of Energy, Dr. Steven Chu, Director, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
- Nominee, Chair, Council of Economic Advisors, Christina Romer, Professor, UC Berkeley