The California Legislature recently welcomed its largest class of new members in 10 years, and they now face an important choice — whether or not they will side with California constituents or with oil and gas industry interests. Will our new legislators prioritize public health and our climate, or will they let oil and gas executives block progress, take California backward, and squeeze profits at the public’s expense?
California has taken important steps to combat climate change and transition to 100 percent clean energy, but the oil and gas industry is trying to block our climate progress and take us backward. It spent millions on lobbying and election spending in 2022, and it continues to exploit Californians for record profits that it reinvests to rig the system and further its agenda to burn more fossil fuels, keep prices high, delay clean energy, and carve out special deals for itself.
In California’s most recent legislative session, the state passed its most ambitious legislative climate change package ever – including requirements for 100 percent clean electricity by 2045, health buffer zones between oil and gas wells and nearby communities, and new guardrails for carbon removal, capture, and storage. One key bill that didn’t pass — SB 260, the Climate Corporate Accountability Act — would have required corporations that do business in California to report on their greenhouse gas emissions. The bill stalled in the Assembly, by just one vote. Legislators’ inaction, and the bill’s subsequent failure, illuminates why it’s critical to hold legislators who claim to support climate action accountable.
Too often our leaders act in the interests of the oil and gas industry despite knowing that California constituents are overwhelmingly in favor of clean energy. 70% of Californians (and 90% of Democrats) support 100 percent clean energy (California statewide survey, 805 interviews, December 2021).
California’s legislators will soon consider dozens of bills and new regulations that could bolster the state’s climate ambitions, and each will likely come with a fight against the oil and gas industry’s agenda. New legislators can reject the oil industry’s agenda and continue California’s climate progress and protect Californians by:
- Supporting 100 percent clean energy to power our economy, homes, and transportation
- Limiting oil companies’ excess profits and returning funds to consumers
- Demanding corporate transparency and accountability on climate pollution
- Restoring the state’s climate budget and protecting it from cuts that would slow the transition to a clean energy future
- Rejecting campaign dollars from oil and gas companies
As Californians face floods, wildfires, and soaring oil and gas prices, the time to act is now. If oil and gas executives and lobbyists get their way and block and slow our transition to cleaner, more reliable, cheaper clean energy, Californians will bear the costs. Our climate crisis will worsen, we will have fewer energy jobs, our air will be more polluted, and families will pay more for energy, while gas and oil executives squeeze more profit.
New legislators need to do what the vast majority of Californians want – promote clean energy from solar and wind and ensure that clean energy powers our cars, homes, and economy. Legislators can’t be for clean energy and industry special deals – it’s time to pick a side.