Lt. Gov. John Garamendi talked last week about the new “green” industrial revolution and how state budget cuts are “starving” public education imperiling California’s economic future.
“We have an opportunity to create a brand new industrial revolution, not based on carbon fuels but rather on renewable energy sources,” Garamendi told a crowd of about 50, including First District Supervisor Sherri Lightner and UCSD Chancellor Marye Anne Fox, gathered at Scripps Institution of Oceanography.
“It’s possible for us to do this if we apply our public policies in such a way that it expands the opportunities for these sources of energy to become more quickly part of our energy source.”
Garamendi said the Obama Administration’s stimulus package “seems to be wanting to push money into these new sources of energy - wind, solar, biofuels.”
The lieutenant governor, who is running for Congress, noted the federal Department of Energy has a $3 billion program to fund 5,000 different renewable energy projects.
UCSD Chancellor Fox said $22 million of that funding is coming to the university for renewable energy projects.
“That’s a good start,” said Garamendi, who noted research into renewable energy will create jobs. “There is an incredible amount of wealth to be created as we shift into new energy systems.”
As an aside, Garamendi noted his daughter works in the biofuels industry, which is exploring turning algae in the ocean into renewable energy.
Garamendi deplored deep state budget cuts made recently to education, noting they ultimately will be a drag on the economy and impact generations to come.
“Cutting back education is really putting California’s, and indeed America’s, economy at risk because we are not investing in education,” he said.
“We’re starving the education system. Forty-three thousand qualified students will not get educated in the higher-education system next year, not counting a couple hundred thousand students who will not be able to get the classes they want. We need those kids to become our engineers, our teachers, our nurses and the like.”
In a question-and-answer period following his speech, when asked where some of the money for public education is being diverted to, Garamendi replied, “prisons.”
UCSD and institutions like it were credited by Garamendi as being the drivers behind economic development and change.
“There is so much knowledge coming out of our universities, and we’re using that to establish public policy,” he said.