Upcoming Climate Center webinars to focus on climate science and fossil fuel phaseout

The Climate Center is kicking off its Climate Safe California winter webinar series with the first two webinars focused on climate science and a just transition away from the fossil energy era.

Webinar 1. What the Science Requires

The first titled “What the Science Requires” will take place on Tuesday, January 26th, 10am – 11am.

In this webinar Ben Santer, an atmospheric scientist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, will discuss the most recent climate science, explore some of the implications of what we face, and address the urgent need for accelerated action. Mr. Santer is an award winning climate scientist who has stood up to the Trump administration’s attempts to muzzle him and his colleagues by speaking truth to power and just conduct good science.

Jason Barbose, Senior Policy Manager, Western States at Union of Concerned Scientists, will address some of the legislative and regulatory campaigns underway in California to meaningfully address the climate crisis, focusing on clean energy and sustainable transportation.

Ellie Cohen, The Climate Center CEO, will offer a brief overview of the Climate-Safe California suite of policies that address the climate crisis at the speed and scale required. After what we have all been through in 2020, it is clear that climate impacts are more severe than anticipated and are happening faster than we thought. We hope you can join us for this webinar.

Register HERE for webinar #1.

Webinar 2: Phasing Out Fossil Fuels: A Just Transition in the Oil & Gas Drilling and Refining Sectors

In this webinar, scheduled for a special 90-minutes on Tuesday, February 23rd from 10am to 11:30am, we will explore how to ensure a just transition in two key facets of the fossil energy industry – extraction and refining. How do we move away from fossil fuels while ensuring a just transition for workers and communities that are economically dependent on these activities? Speakers will discuss the current impacts of fossil fuel production on frontline communities and what needs to be done to address them, a plan for decommissioning California refineries, and the possibility of enacting a fracking ban. What does the clean –and just– energy future look like?

Ingrid Brostrom of the Center on Race, Poverty & the Environment and Gustavo Aguirre, Jr. of the Central California Environmental Justice Network will cover the oil & gas extraction side. Ms Brostrom will address efforts at the state policy level to accelerate the phaseout with an emphasis on hazardous waste, oil and gas, and Just Transition. Mr. Aguirre Jr. will bring us to the oil fields in Kern County to convey the realities of frontline communities and the need for a transition to a safe and healthful environment, but not leaving the workers behind.

Greg Karras, Principal of Community Energy reSource and Steve Garey, a retired refinery worker, will cover the oil refining sector. Mr. Karras will summarize the key recommendations about how to implement policies to ensure a just transition for communities and workers in his 2020 report “Decommissioning Refineries: Climate and Health Paths in an Oil State.” Mr. Garey, who served as President of United Steelworkers local 12-591 from 2010 until his retirement in 2015 and who now serves on the executive committee of the Washington State Blue Green Alliance and on the steering committee of the Climate Alliance for Jobs and Clean Energy in Washington, will offer us a labor perspective.

Register HERE for webinar #2.

We hope you can join us for these first two webinars in the series, and please check back at The Climate Safe California Webinar Series to find out about more coming up!

Emissions Gap Report 2020: Where we are & where we should be to avoid catastrophe


  • The United Nations Environment Programme has released their Emissions Gap Report for 2020, highlighting where greenhouse gas predictions for 2030 are and how the world can avoid climate disaster
  • Currently, the world is headed for temperature rise in excess of 3°C this century and 2020 has likely to be the warmest year on record
  • Around 126 countries covering 51% of global greenhouse gas emissions had adopted, announced or were considering net-zero goals at the time this report was written, signifying that various countries are attempting to do their part to reduce emissions
  • Governments must go greener in the next stage of COVID-19 fiscal interventions to kick-start faster action on climate change

Scientists are increasingly warning that to avoid catastrophic impacts from climate change, the world’s governments must implement policies for massive greenhouse gas emissions reductions and begin a drawdown of carbon from the atmosphere within ten years. With 9 of 15 global tipping points now active, what we do today can either unleash an inhospitable hothouse Earth or secure a safe climate well into the future. For a safe and healthy future for all, endorse the Climate-Safe California Platform to implement scalable solutions that can reverse the climate crisis.

Read the Full Report: https://www.unep.org/interactive/emissions-gap-report/2020/

The Climate Center celebrates reaching 3 million in election social media campaign

By Ann Hancock, Chief Strategist and Co-Founder

Unexpectedly this summer, Charlie Pendergast, my friend and a longtime supporter, called to say that he wanted to fund Jason Windsor to create a video to get people throughout the country to vote. Jason created the END OF ZE WORLD video, one of the first to go viral. He also created our funny, popular video showing people’s confusion about the name of our organization.

Because The Climate Center recognizes that getting people to vote is critical for climate issues as well as many others, we were very pleased to be the channel through which Charlie funded Jason. Meaningful climate action hinges upon a healthy democracy and participation in the democratic process by younger generations, who will be most affected by climate change.

Charlie funded Jason to use the funds however as an artist he thought best. So Jason, after research and reflection, created an animated video featuring Zoom recordings of regular Americans explaining why their vote really does matter. The video was intended to go viral and create a sense of urgency for viewers to vote this year, primarily young voters.

Jason brought Christopher Dilts onto the team. He’s a top social media marketing expert who used Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube for this project to show the video and its variations to people across the country.

The campaign exceeded expectations, reaching 3 million people by election day. Chris said that the video played a pivotal role in getting out the vote in the 2020 election.

Inspired by the results of the project, the team is extending the campaign immediately to Georgia’s Senate race run-off in January 2021 that will determine the degree of federal climate action that will be possible over the coming years.

“This #myvotecounts project was a cool opportunity to do what I’m passionate about, communicating important messages in a way that’s fun and makes people laugh,” said Windsor. “Although Covid made us use Zoom, the authentic voices of youth and citizens of all walks of life got to be amplified. It was an amazing collaboration.”

Christopher Dilts, Chief Strategy Officer for Mari Smith, had this to say about the video:

“The impact of this video proves that a small group really can make an outsized difference. Because many of the critical votes in November were won by narrow margins, this video campaign could well have tipped the scale for the election outcome. As a social media professional, I was surprised by the very high level of engagement of the people we reached. This affirmed for me that the positive message that the videos conveyed reflects the common human values shared broadly across this country. Going forward, we know that the Senate races in Georgia will be close, and that the outcome will be a game-changer for decades to come. We’ll immediately leverage the limited funds we have to extend this voting video campaign in Georgia for all they’re worth.”

Charlie Pendergast on The RiskPress Foundation and the project:

“The RiskPress Foundation’s goal is to seek out and support the work of artists of all kinds.  Underlying that mission is a philosophy or strategy which assumes that humanity has its best chance of survival when childrenparents, teachers, and artists are given everything they need to be healthy, to thrive, and are encouraged to do their work.  It was a pleasure to play with Jason Windsor because he is all of those four categories, and he does brilliant work. We are also grateful that The Climate Center graciously partnered with us throughout the project.”

Click here for a full list of credits for the campaign.

Click here to read more about this in the Press Democrat.

For more information, please contact me ann [at] theclimatecenter dot org.

Electric Vehicles Charging at a Station, by Stivabc, found on https://pixabay.com/photos/parking-space-car-electric-car-1678181/

Why we urgently need to phase out polluting cars

I live in an area where big polluting trucks are far more common than electric vehicles (EVs), but public support for policies to shift away from polluting vehicles is not. The transportation sector is responsible for roughly 40% of California’s carbon pollution and for much of the air pollution in the region where I live. Despite widespread anti-regulatory sentiments in my region, as a Latinx woman who has lived in the Central Valley of California for almost all of my life, I support Governor Gavin Newsom’s Executive Order to phase out polluting gasoline-powered vehicles. 

The above mentioned Executive Order directs the state’s Air Resources Board and other agencies to develop rules, regulations, and interim steps leading up to the 2035 cessation of new gasoline car sales. Two important things to note: 1) Communities should engage in this process to ensure that lower-income drivers can afford to replace their vehicles with clean cars; 2) No gasoline-powered cars will be taken from anyone. Even after 2035, people will still be able to drive gasoline cars, but by that time, it is highly likely that gas cars will be obsolete, and fewer people will be driving them. 

Polluting cars have disproportionately impacted the health and safety of Latinos for far too long. Latinos breathe 40% more particulate matter than Caucasian Californians according to a study by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS). Kern County produces 70% of the oil in California, and 1% of the world’s total oil production. Within the Central Valley, these points of extraction and processing of oil and gas are adjacent to many low-income communities of color, including Latinx communities. 

Approximately 5.4 million Californians live within a mile of one or more of over 84,000 existing oil and gas wells. Communities of color make up nearly 92% of the 1.8 million people living near drilling in heavily polluted areas. It is irresponsible to continue this way. We can choose a different path– with public investments that will generate more jobs and in turn, create healthier communities.  

Phasing out gas-powered vehicles has economic benefits for lower-income residents as well. Many independent studies, including this recent one from Consumer Reports, confirm that the lifetime cost of EVs is lower than comparable gasoline cars. In the long run, they are cheaper to maintain because they have fewer moving parts than a conventional diesel/petroleum car. Electric vehicles do not have expensive exhaust systems, starter motors, fuel injection systems, radiators, and many other parts that aren’t needed in an EV. 

If the upfront purchase price of Electric Vehicles is an issue, there are statewide and local incentive programs that help make EVs more affordable for the average family. There are several clean vehicle incentive programs and rebates for Californians: California Air Resources Board’s Clean Vehicle Rebate Program, Plug-In America, The Greenlining Institute, and Drive Clean San Joaquin, to name a few.

The state must also take responsibility for prioritizing more charging stations in rural and lower-income areas. Having a proper charging infrastructure in place is critical for a clean vehicle transition. Of course, this is not going to happen overnight, but we must set bold targets, accelerate timelines, and lay the groundwork now for a clean and safe transportation system that serves us all. If we work together, we can ensure equal access to clean vehicles for those most affected by air pollution and climate impacts and least responsible for them

The Climate Center is working to address sustainable mobility with a goal to achieve a 70 to 85 percent drop in vehicle emissions by 2030. To do this we need a transportation system that is not dependent on fossil fuels. It must be equitable, accessible, affordable, safe, clean, and it must include public participation in decision- making process. Support The Climate Safe California Campaign which calls for accelerating existing state policies to better align with the science and rapidly worsening climate reality.

We have the solutions and technologies today to help solve the climate crisis. By addressing these problems, we are creating pathways to solutions that are much needed for low-income and communities of color. 

California will make Uber and Lyft nearly all-EV by 2030

by David Ferris, Governors’ Wind and Solar Energy Coalition


  • The California Air Resources Board (CARB) released its Clean Miles Standard, a plan which works to regulate the emissions of ride-hailing services such as Uber and Lyft
  • Drivers for these companies tend to contribute to carbon emissions and traffic congestion because they are often driving around without passengers to transport
  • The new plan calls for the electrification of their fleet by 2030, regulates the emissions of miles driven by rail hailing drivers, and calls for these companies to invest in bike lanes and help improve public transportation
  • These new rules take effect in 2023

The Climate Center’s Climate-Safe California Campaign includes measures for clean transportation systems. For a safe and healthy future for all, endorse the Climate-Safe California Platform to implement scalable solutions that can reverse the climate crisis.

Read More: https://governorswindenergycoalition.org/calif-will-make-uber-and-lyft-nearly-all-ev-by-2030/

UK to ban selling new gas and diesel cars by 2030

by Catherine Thorbecke, ABC News


  • Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that the United Kingdom would ban the sale of new gas and diesel vehicles by 2030 as a part of his “Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution”
  • Boris Johnson claims that this initiative would create 250,000 jobs 
  • About $665 million will be used to develop and produce batteries for electric vehicles and $1.7 billion will be utilized to install charging infrastructure throughout Britain
  • In order to incentivize buyers to go electric, the government pledged over $774 million in grants for zero and low emissions vehicles

The Climate Center’s Climate-Safe California Campaign includes measures for clean transportation systems. For a safe and healthy future for all, endorse the Climate-Safe California Platform to implement scalable solutions that can reverse the climate crisis.

Read More: https://abcnews.go.com/Business/uk-ban-selling-gas-diesel-cars-2030/story?id=74274466

Insurance companies abandoning California at a faster rate, as wildfires wreak havoc

by Dale Kasler, Sacramento Bee


  • Deputy Insurance Commissioner Bryant Henley announced that insurance companies have dropped many Californians in the Sierra foothills after the 2017 and 2018 wildfire season resulted in losses of $25 billion for those companies
  • 42,088 homeowners were sent non-renewal in the foothill counties in 2019 and had to purchase replacement coverage at double or triple their original insurance costs, many on the California FAIR Plan
  • Enrollees of the California FAIR Plan, the state’s “insurer of last resort,” jumped from 140,000 in 2018 to over 200,000 this August
  • Industry officials say climate change and other factors are making increasingly large swaths of California almost uninsurable and affordable insurance will be less easy to obtain as fire seasons intensify 

Scientists are increasingly warning that to avoid catastrophic impacts from climate change, the world’s governments must implement massive reductions of warming emissions and begin a drawdown of greenhouse gases (GHG) from the atmosphere over the decade ahead.  For a safe and healthy future for all, endorse the Climate-Safe California Platform to implement scalable solutions that can reverse the climate crisis.

Read More: https://www.sacbee.com/news/california/fires/article246561448.html

New Jersey calls for 100% EVs by 2035, a first for East Coast

by David Iaconangelo, E&E News


  • Less than a month after Californa Governor Newsom’s executive order, New Jersey is now the first state on the East Coast to call for a ban of gas cars by 2035 in order to reach the state’s goal of 80% carbon dioxide reductions by 2050
  • The proposal from the Department of Environmental Protection works to ensure that at least 110,000 new electric vehicles are sold every year through 2025
  • For the 2035 ban to be fully implemented, either the governor or the Legislature would need to take additional action by enacting a law or through executive directives.
  • Other states that are looking to implement a gas car ban are Washington and Colorado

The Climate Center’s Climate-Safe California Platform includes solutions for clean mobility to cut greenhouse gas emissions from transportation. Governor Newsom’s recent Executive Order N-79-20 banning the sale of new gas-powered cars and trucks by 2035 is a great first step, but more is needed to secure climate stability. The Climate Center released a requested Executive Order in alignment with our Climate-Safe California Platform shortly before the Governor’s announcement. 

Read More: https://theclimatecenter.org/california-greenlights-electric-vehicle-charging-program-for-38000-new-charging-stations/

A new era of clean transportation requires new leadership

by Mary Creasman, CalMatters


  • Transportation is responsible for about 40% of California’s emissions
  • Assembly Transportation Committee Chair Jim Frazier has stalled various efforts for cleaner transportation in California
  • Frazier pushed back against the Clean Cars Bill that would have transitioned cars to zero-emission by 2040 and worked against former Governor Jerry Brown’s goal of putting 5 million electric cars on the road by 2030
  • Frazier also asked the California Air Resources Board to suspend all proposed air quality regulations until 2021
  • Frazier has received thousands of dollars in money from oil companies and has held more than $1 million in Chevron stock
  • Removing Frazier and replacing any members of the Transportation Committee who won’t work to secure a clean transportation future is vital for a safe and healthy California

Increased air pollution from fossil fuel emissions makes all of us more vulnerable to the current COVID-19 pandemic. The Climate Center’s Climate-Safe California Platform includes solutions for clean mobility to cut greenhouse gas emissions from transportation. Governor Newsom’s recent Executive Order N-79-20 banning the sale of new gas-powered cars and trucks by 2035 is a great first step, but more is needed to secure climate stability. The Climate Center released a requested Executive Order in alignment with our Climate-Safe California Platform shortly before the Governor’s announcement. 

Read More: https://calmatters.org/commentary/my-turn/2020/10/a-new-era-of-clean-transportation-requires-new-leadership-on-the-assemblys-transportation-committee/

These 4 toss-up Senate races might determine the fate of the planet

by Shannon Osaka, Grist


There are 35 Senate seats being voted on this November, with Maine, North Carolina, Iowa, and Montana being deciding factors on whether a new administration could pass effective climate legislation.

Iowa – Joni Ernst (R) vs. Theresa Greenfield (D) 

  • Joni Ernst previously received funding from Charles and the late David Koch and is anti- Green New Deal
  • Theresa Greenfield argues that the country needs to take “urgent climate action” and wants the state to have the first net-zero farm industry in the world
  • Greenfield is currently leading Ernst, 47% to 43%

Montana – Steve Daines (R) vs. Steve Bullock (D) 

  • Governor Steve Bullock commissioned the Climate Solutions Plan, expanding energy efficiency and boosting renewables across the state but still supports fracking
  • Senator Steve Daines, the Republican incumbent, is not a proponent of a carbon tax and believes it to be a job killer
  • Bullock tied with Daines at 48%

Maine – Susan Collins (R) vs. Sara Gideon (D) 

  • Senator Susan Collins is a moderate Republican who has supported some climate legislation in the past but has now received 21% on the League of Conservation Voters scorecard
  • Sara Gideon has put several landmark climate bills through the state legislature, including one that requires the state to get all of its electricity from renewable energy by 2050
  • Gideon has a one point lead over Collins

North Carolina – Thom Tillis (R) vs. Cal Cunningham (D) 

  • Cal Cunningham opposes the Green New Deal but wants more renewable energy and believes the U.S. should rejoin the Paris climate agreement
  • Thom Tillis has revoked his stance against human-caused climate change but still refuses to support the Paris agreement and believes market-based solutions will solve the crisis
  • Cunningham is polling ahead of Tillis, 37% to 41%

This upcoming election will determine how many climate champions will be in office to pass important environmental and climate legislation. See resources on how to vote for the climate and how to vote early in this 2020 presidential election. 

Read More: https://grist.org/politics/these-4-toss-up-senate-races-joni-ernst-susan-collins-cal-cunningham-might-determine-the-fate-of-the-planet-and-climate-change/