November 19 – Daily Titan – Diana Tran reports – Climate change advocate Jose Trinidad Castaneda and the Climate Action Campaign are trying to get California to use 100% clean renewable energy by 2030. They believe the fastest way to achieve that goal is through a program called Community Choice Energy.

Instead of investor-owned utilities like Southern California Edison providing most people’s electricity, the program will have cities and counties take over the responsibility of purchasing electricity that is cleaner and renewable.

Castaneda addressed Southern California Edison’s monopoly on electricity distribution and the program when he visited Cal State Fullerton to speak on climate change on Nov. 14.

Castaneda said that residents will have the freedom to choose their provider and if they want to have 100% clean energy or natural gas.

“It’s time for choice. It’s the American way: choosing what religion you want to practice, choosing where you want to live, choosing (your) electricity needs to be the way for us,” Castaneda said.

Robert Hardigree, treasurer of the College Democrats, likes the program for being able to give choices for individuals.

“I think climate change is an existential threat,” Hardigree said. “It’s really important for us to have this on our minds often.”

The program has seen success in places such as Sonoma County. The default electricity service of Sonoma County’s community choice energy program provides nearly double the amount of renewable energy than the area’s traditional utility, along with creating 30% less greenhouse gas emissions, according to the Climate Action Campaign website.

Community Choice Energy is not being used by any city in Orange County so far, but the Irvine City Council is debating its decision to participate. Castaneda urges for people to come to the meeting at Irvine City Hall on Dec. 10 to show their support for a clean-energy future.

Andrew Levy, president of the College Democrats of CSUF, invited Castaneda to speak at CSUF because he felt that the members would like to hear from a climate change advocate.

“We believe that it is an actual real issue and we need to take action quickly,” Levy said about climate change.

Kasra Motamedi, a public health major, said he is interested in climate change because he feels it is a problem that’s talked about in many countries and the elections.

“Going back into the Paris Climate Accord will definitely help because the United States has a big portion of the pollution in the world. California is helping a lot, but it’s ultimately the federal government’s job to oversee (climate change),” Motamedi said.

Kayhan Bakian, a computer science major, thinks it’s important to not only learn about the importance of climate change but also about what can be done to fix it.

He says more needs to be done so that climate change is no longer a partisan issue, but a universal one.

“Being able to get more information on the best method to fight climate change and seeing which candidate lines up with those beliefs is going to be important for the 2020 election,” Bakian said.

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