Spring – and change – is in the air at Next Generation
Spring is a time of change and rebirth. In normal places with normal weather (e.g. the Midwest, where I’m from), it’s when the trees start to leaf out again after a long winter, crocuses start poking out from under a layer of snow, and people break out their tank tops as soon as the thermostat hits 40 degrees.
For Next Generation, this spring is also a time of change. As you may have heard, we have decided to close the Energy & Climate Program at Next Generation. I am so fortunate to have been part of this organization for the past three years, and to be able to work closely with founders Matt James and Tom and Jim Steyer – as well as with Ann O’Leary, the fearless leader of Next Generation’s Children & Families program. I’m also deeply proud of all we have accomplished, bringing policy and communications prowess together to move the climate and energy agenda forward in California and across the country.
Here’s just a glimpse of what our amazing team has accomplished in California over the past three years:
- In 2012, we helped to implement Proposition 39, the ballot initiative that closed a corporate tax loophole and directed funds to clean energy projects across the state. We made the case for those funds to benefit public schools and worked tirelessly to ensure the final legislation (SB 39) and regulations would provide benefits to even the smallest and most far-flung California schools. We also pushed hard to make sure the state collected utility data from any school that applied, in order to begin the process of creating the first-ever database of public school facilities conditions in this state.
- In 2013, we released an investigative report to shine a light on the disturbing techniques being used to extract oil and gas from the Monterey Shale. Our work in this area helped ensure that Senator Fran Pavley’s bill regulating fracking (SB 4) also addressed the acid injection techniques more often used in the tricky geologic Monterey Shale formation.
- In 2014, we focused in on transportation, and particularly on providing options to upgrade to cleaner, safer, and more efficient vehicles in areas of the state where EVs don’t always make sense. Our work here led the state’s Air Resources Board to make positive changes to the state’s Enhanced Fleet Modernization Program (EFMP).
Nationally, we launched the Risky Business Project, which has successfully broadened the conversation on climate change to include the business and investment community. Just last week we released a California-focused report at an event headlined by Tom Steyer and Henry Cisneros, where they discussed the economic risks California will face this century from unmitigated climate change. It’s a testament to the far-reaching resonance of the climate risk message that the report generated coverage across the state, from the Sacramento Business Journal to the O.C. Register.
We’ve done a lot in three years! But we know when it’s time to declare victory and move on. After much discussion and reflection, as Matt James announced last week, Next Generation’s founders and board have decided that the organization can be most successful as a non-profit incubator that generates and spins off new projects. One of these projects, of course, was Risky Business, which has become an independent entity based in New York City. All three original co-chairs – Tom Steyer, Mike Bloomberg, and Hank Paulson – will continue their engagement in the project.
Our California policy work, meanwhile, will continue on at our ally organization NextGen Climate America, another non-profit founded by Tom Steyer. Check out NGCA’s great blogs on California policy issues when you have a chance.
Speaking of blogs, never fear – the program may be ending, but Kate’s Cliffnotes lives on! You’ll keep receiving my updates as I transition to new pastures. The fact is that I love this work too much to stop doing it, so wherever I end up, I’ll continue the fight.
Thanks all. Onward!