“We can create the California we want and the one our children and grandchildren deserve.”

Michael McCormick
AICP, Senior Planner & Advisor, Governor’s Office of Planning and Research

California has been busy. In his State of the State address, Governor Brown established statewide goals to reduce petroleum use by 50 percent and to increase renewable energy use to 50 percent between now and 2030. These goals build on California’s greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets for 2020 and put the state on the path to achieve the deep greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions needed by to achieve statewide 2050 goals. These goals also build on other executive orders, regulations, and legislation implemented over the past ten years, as well as actions at the local level. Since 2005, over 130 local governments have adopted climate action plans with their own GHG reduction targets for 2020 and beyond. These actions have led to private and public sector innovation in technology, housing, transportation and land use and have catalyzed a larger dialogue about the future of California.

If we think about California’s future we must look at energy generation, storage and transmission. A modernized grid, electric vehicles, wireless charging, energy storage, vehicle to grid energy management technology, integration of distributed and commercial renewables, energy efficiency improvements, intelligence energy systems, micro grids, wearable tech, power through movement, internet of things (IOT) and many other energy related technologies are on the threshold of large scale deployment. Autonomous vehicles and truly functional artificial intelligence are also emerging. Sensor networks now in use in our cities, homes, vehicles, and phones support resource sharing for cars, bikes, tools, parking spaces and more – all made possible through the IOT. Right now the story is in each individual innovation, in 2030 it will be about how they all seamlessly work together.

With innovation comes risk. This technology will cause profound changes in how we interact with our environment. Changes in how we use public space, a transformation in transportation and the omnipresence of technology will create a need for our urban landscapes to adapt to what is coming. Between now and 2030 we will also need to have some frank conversations about privacy, safety, and commodification of user data.

As a hub of innovation, California’s people, government and businesses will continue to think big and churn out new technology to reduce waste, create interconnectivity and improve the performance of everything around us. We must be cognizant of the risks, but looking at the progress we’ve made in the last decade, we can create the California we want and the one our children and grandchildren deserve.