Governor Newsom has taken a bold first step. Urge him to do more.

After several weeks of record-breaking heat, fires, and smoke, Governor Newsom today reiterated that we are in a climate emergency and announced Executive Order N-79-20 requiring 100% of all new in-state sales of cars and light trucks to be zero-emissions vehicles by 2035. 

This makes California the first state in the nation to ban new gas-powered cars.

Please join us in thanking the governor for his bold action!

With transportation being the single largest source of global warming pollutants in California and nationwide, today’s announcement is a major step forward. As the biggest car market in the US, California wields significant influence on other car markets across the country and the world. 

We are also pleased that the new Executive Order also includes provisions for phasing out fracking in California, as well as publication by next summer of plans to support and “expeditiously” implement a just transition for workers employed in fossil fuel industries. 

Today’s announcement is a significant step toward the comprehensive policy recommendations The Climate Center has been recommending recently to the Newsom Administration and other state leaders. 

In fact, the Climate Center recently sent our proposed comprehensive DRAFT Executive Order to the Governor, based on the latest science and rapidly worsening climate reality, and building on Climate-Safe California.

The governor anticipates issuing additional Executive Orders over the weeks ahead.

To fully address the climate emergency, we urge him to accelerate California’s existing greenhouse gas reduction targets to achieve 80% below 1990 emissions levels and net-negative emissions by 2030. We also request that he commit to other key steps including:

  • an immediate halt to new gas and oil drilling permits, a start to the phase-out of fossil fuel production and exports, 
  • a commitment to 100% clean electricity by 2030, 
  • a dramatic ramp-up of investments in nature-based sequestration through habitat and soils management, and,
  • major investments in community resilience, including regulatory changes that open up markets for clean energy microgrids and decentralized clean energy. 

Thank you Governor Newsom for re-asserting California’s climate leadership at this critical moment!

While today’s announcement is a significant step forward, the latest science demands more aggressive actions be taken sooner for the health of our planet and the health of our communities, especially frontline lower-income communities and communities of color. 

We urge Governor Newsom to issue additional Executive Orders to fully address the climate crisis.

California’s climate policies are still substantially behind what is required to secure a climate-safe future. They are also behind new national proposals which include achieving 100% clean electricity by 2030, major investments in natural and working lands for carbon sequestration, and scaled up community resilience efforts, including clean energy microgrids. 

California law currently calls for just 60% renewable energy by 2030, has no major programs investing in natural and working lands, and only aspires to carbon neutrality by 2045. It is not enough! California must do more for the country to realize these urgently needed proposed national goals.

Thank Governor Newsom today for his history-making Executive Order and support him doing more. 

As part of numerous Climate Week 2020 NYC virtual activities, Governor Newsom will be hosting California Climate Action Day, September 24 from 9 AM – 2 PM, including a discussion with Van Jones about how California can develop an aggressive climate change agenda. The events can be viewed after on the Governor’s YouTube page here.  

Take action today to let the Governor know that we support his taking the bold, urgently needed action now! 

EV San Jose

California greenlights electric vehicle charging program for 38,000 new charging stations

from The Sierra Club, Clean Technica


  • Southern California Edison’s (SCE) Charge Ready 2 program was approved by the California Public Utilities Commission which will result in the addition of 38,000 new charging stations across Southern California over the next four years
  • The program aims to increase clean transportation options particularly in underserved communities by using some of the $437 million allocated to the program to implement electric vehicle infrastructure in workplaces and multi-unit dwellings
  • Nearly $15 million will be used on education and outreach
  • The Charge Ready 2 program is the largest single program for any utility in the country and builds off of the Charge Ready program that SCE initiated in 2014

Increased air pollution from fossil fuel emissions– including tailpipes– 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.

Read More:

Defying Trump, California locks in vehicle emission deals with major automakers

by David Shepardson, Reuters


  • The California Air Resources Board (CARB) along with Ford, Volkswagen, Honda, Volvo, and BMW finalized agreements that create low vehicle emissions standards for cars in California
  • According to The Center for Biological Diversity, the deal will improve fuel economy by an estimated 3.7% year over year between 2022-2026
  • These new emissions standards come after the Trump administration finalized rollbacks that required on 1.5% annual increases in efficiency, compared to the 5% annual increases the Obama administration set
  • There are 13 other states that use California’s emissions standards, representing 40% of the US auto market
  • GM, Fiat Chrysler, and Toyota have not agreed to the standards and are in a lawsuit with the federal government to strip California of the right to set zero emission vehicle requirements

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.

Read More:

Congressional climate action plan

Congressional Climate Crisis Action Plan would decarbonize U.S., add $8 trillion in benefits by 2050

by Megan Mahajan, Forbes


  • The U.S. House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis has released their climate policy report titled Solving the Climate Crisis: The Congressional Action Plan for a Clean Energy Economy and a Healthy, Resilient and Just America 
  • Climate policy firm Energy Innovation modeled a subset of the Select Committee’s recommendations using a simulator and found it will hit net zero carbon dioxide emissions before 2050 and slash net greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 88% from 2010 levels by 2050
  • This policy could prevent 62,000 premature deaths annually from pollution, while generating nearly $8 trillion in cumulative monetized health and climate benefits by 2050
  • Under this model, the electricity sector could reach 90% clean electricity by 2035 and 100% clean energy by 2040
  • Electrifying buildings with clean energy can deliver much-needed emissions reductions within that sector
  • 100% zero-emission vehicle sales for light-duty vehicles by 2035 and for heavy-duty vehicles by 2040 would help the transportation sector meet 2050 net-zero targets
  • More than 70% of voters support legislation targeting a 100% clean economy according to new polling

The Climate Center’s Climate-Safe California Platform advocates for a formal California State commitment by 2022 to 80% below 1990 levels of greenhouse gas emissions and net negative emissions by 2030 for a climate-safe future.

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ACT electric vehicles to help stabilize power grid in first Australian research trial of its kind

by Craig Allen and Marcus Mannheim, ABC News Australia


  • The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) government is providing 50 Nissan Leaf vehicles in efforts to see if the fleet can help maintain the electricity grid through blackouts
  • The Leafs have a two-way battery, meaning they can both be charged from the grid and provide power to the grid
  • This resilience effort comes after massive brushfires knocked out powerlines, causing blackouts
  • Australia’s main source of energy is black coal, while renewable energies like solar, hydro, and wind slowly come on to the grid
  • Todd Eagles, executive director of utility company ActewAGL, says electric vehicles are going to very important to Australia’s energy future.

The Climate Center’s Climate-Safe California Platform includes an initiative for Community Energy Resilience with clean microgrids that can employ “batteries on wheels” for energy storage.

Read More:

California set to require zero-emissions trucks but timeline lags science

by Hiroko Tabuchi, The New York Times


The California Air Resource Board unanimously voted in a new rule requiring more than half of all trucks sold in the state to be zero-emissions by 2035

  • This rule is expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve air quality, and establish California as an EV manufacturing hub
  • 100% of trucks on the road will be electric by 2045
  • The Inland Empire in Southern California has been exposed to high levels of pollution due to mass amounts of delivery trucks, reaching up to 1,200 per hour
  • Due to increases in online shopping, areas such as the Inland Empire, that have many warehouse facilities will continue to experience emissions from diesel trucks
  • Though diesel trucks only make up 7% of vehicles registered in California, they cause 70% of smog and 80% of particulate matter pollution in the state
  • The removal of diesel trucks will eliminate 60,000 tons of nitrogen oxides, preventing more than 900 premature deaths and delivering at least $9 billion in public health benefits

Science demands that we eliminate the use of fossil fuels by 2030 to avoid worst-case climate impacts. The Climate Center’s Climate-Safe California campaign calls for clean mobility solutions, including a phase-out of all gas-powered vehicles to reach net-negative emissions by 2030.

Read More:

Cities are leading on clean mobility during the COVID and climate crises. They need help.

Take action today: Ask your electeds to commit to a phase-out of dirty, gas-powered vehicles and invest in sustainable mobility as part of COVID-19 stimulus funding.

On March 30th, The Climate Center and our partners sent a letter to the California Air Resources Board asking them to hold firm on clean air regulations during this pandemic. The fossil fuel industry has used the pandemic to try to halt clean air regulations that protect millions of Californians– right when we need them most for both public health and to get on the path to a climate-safe future.

California’s pre-pandemic transportation habits were a disaster for the climate and public health. Even without a deadly respiratory illness, our rampant fossil fuel use compromised air quality and the lung health of our most vulnerable, and GHG emissions from transportation remained stubbornly high.

Tackling these emissions from transportation requires both a reduction in vehicles on the road and electrification of virtually all of the vehicles remaining. Sadly, COVID-19 will not do the job for us.

The pandemic’s effect on traffic and related emissions is already wearing off, with gasoline use rebounding and some commuters choosing to drive their cars over using public transit.

Ridership on buses and trains in major cities in the U.S., Europe, and China is down by 50-90% from pre-crisis levels. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) in the U.S. has provided some relief with $25 billion for public transit, but we must do much more for climate-safe mobility.

In addition to transit, converting car lanes to bike and pedestrian pathways can help. Many European cities are adding miles of new bike lanes, with French officials aiming to create more than 400 miles of bike lanes throughout the greater Paris metropolitan area.

And the City of Oakland took steps to accommodate car-free travel by opening 74 miles of streets to pedestrians, scooters, and bikes!

California legislators must seize the moment to incentivize cities to remove cars from the road and to start the process of phasing out fossil fuel vehicles.

We at The Climate Center are committed to working with lawmakers to move us forward for climate-safe mobility.

We hope you will join us. Take action today.

Endorse our Climate-Safe California campaign and support The Climate Center’s bold efforts today. 

Note: There are new additional tax benefits for charitable giving in 2020 due to COVID 19. Read more.

Additional Reading:

Electric Vehicles Charging at a Station, by Stivabc, found on

Expansion of fossil-fuel vehicle phase-outs moves world one step closer to a climate-safe future 

By Buddy Burch, The Climate Center

In March 2020, we launched an update to the Survey of Global Activity to Phase Out Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) Vehicles. This survey, which details leadership and innovation in pursuit of electrifying the transportation sector for a climate-safe future, has been an ongoing effort at The Climate Center. We are thrilled at the readership and the response to the survey, and we will continue to ensure that the document serves as a resource for folks working towards zero-emission transportation. 

Below are  changes identified in this update. First, Egypt, Iceland, Slovenia, Sri Lanka, and Sweden have been added to the list of countries working to phase out ICE vehicles. The report now features major players from Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Northern Africa, and South America, making this a global effort. The “countries” section also features an ongoing discussion within the EU. Countries within this economic bloc are currently discussing whether or not to roll out a ban as a single actor, or if the decision will be made on a county-by-country basis. 

Cities are also expanding their efforts to phase out ICE vehicles. This update to the survey included the addition of Amsterdam, Berlin, Birmingham, Honolulu, Jakarta, Liverpool, Greater Manchester, Medellin, Rio de Janeiro, Rotterdam, Santiago, Santa Monica, Seoul, Warsaw, West Hollywood, Bogotá, Bristol, British Columbia, and New York City as cities taking actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from passenger vehicles. In the private sector, we also observed an exciting change in marketing strategies. Most notably, four auto manufacturers (Audi, General Motors, Porsche, and Ford) bought advertisements to showcase their electric cars during the past year’s Super Bowl. The event, which aired with 102.1 million viewers, is an example of a space that holds great potential for creating culture change around consumer preferences. 

The push to electrify transportation will continue as we work together toward net negative emissions by 2030 for a climate-safe future. We welcome your questions and updates as we strive to support speed and scale solutions with the best information available. Future updates to the “Survey on Global Activities to Phase out ICE Vehicles” will be shared at

CARB Chair: 100% Zero Emission Vehicle sales target in 2030 could be reality

By John Boesel, CALSTART


California Air Resources Board (CARB) Chairman Mary Nichols emphasizes the importance of banning internal combustions engine (ICE) vehicles during the CALSTART California 2030 Policy Summit.

  • Nichols was previously opposed to the ban of ICE vehicles due to the potential backlash but stated at the Summit:

“I’ve become convinced of the need to send a longer-term signal of where we’re heading…If we can make it clear that it is the will of the legislature and [CARB], then there should be a clear end to [internal combustion engine] sales.”

  • California historically sets ambitious climate goals and targets and an ICE ban would be a major step for the state’s emissions reductions
  • If carmakers keep to their promise to produce more EVs, by 2023 there will be many more long-range electric and fuel cell vehicles available for sale 
  • Policy firm Energy Innovations issued a report suggesting California would need to establish an 80% Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) sales target by 2030 to meet its 2030 greenhouse gas reduction target
  • California produces more electric vehicles and has more electric vehicle-related jobs than the rest of the country

The Climate Center’s Climate-Safe California campaign calls for investments and bold policies to support clean mobility, including a phase-out of all gas-powered vehicles.

Read more:

Electrify everything, or aim for beneficial electrification?

My how things have changed. Back in the day, when most of the electricity we used was derived from fossil energy sources, any reduction of electricity use was considered a good thing by those concerned about emission. Now that the grid is on a trajectory toward ever cleaner sources, the dynamic has changed. Fuel switching from fossil gas powered systems to electric systems can, and most often is, a cleaner way to go.

But does this mean that we should electrifying everything, always, everywhere? Or is there a more thoughtful, measured approach that prioritizes electrification that brings the most benefit, socially and environmentally, and leaves room for other clean systems? Let’s also not forget age old common sense: it is rarely ever a great idea to put all your eggs in one basket. Consistent with that wisdom, electrifying everything may leave those who have electrified everything with nothing when there is no, or limited, electricity to be had.

Let’s start by defining these terms. When we say electrify everything, that can easily be construed to mean what it appears to say, that the aim is to simply electrify everything that requires power. For the sake of this article, that is the definition we will use. Beneficial electrification means identifying systems that run on dirty power that can be switched to use electricity with no detrimental social or environmental impacts, thus providing multiple benefits to direct users and others. Beneficial electrification is not necessarily at the exclusion of other options, both powered, and non-powered.

The Regulatory Assistance Project, an independent nonprofit organization, points to three criteria that electrification should meet to count as beneficial. It should:

  • Reduce harmful environmental impacts;
  • Save consumers money over the long run; and
  • Enable better grid management.

If we abide by these criteria, we can identify many candidates for electrification. And if we abide by our non-exclusionary principle, other non-electrified options can be considered. Let’s take a look at few use cases.


Solar water heating is the lesser-known solar technology. When most folks think of solar power, they think of solar photovoltaics, the conversion of sunlight to electricity. Solar hot water is the conversion of solar energy to heat and it works without a need for gas or electric power. Solar water heating is a well-established and proven technology has been around since the 19th century and is used widely in many parts of the world. In Israel for example, it is estimated that 90% of households use solar water heating. Although it has significant upfront installation costs, solar water heating meets our three criteria.

I use a solar oven. I have been using it – the same one – since 2008. It is a wonderful way to avoid using gas or electricity and it is downright fun. In full sun, it rapidly shoots to over 300 degrees, hot enough for many cooking tasks including baking. Come over some time and I’ll make you a wild blackberry pie. It is also a great rice cooker – set it and forget it. Just put it out on the deck with the pot of rice & water aimed toward the south. The sun arcs across the sky in just the right amount of time to cook the rice and to then “turn off” as the angle of solar radiance becomes so steep that the temperature drops. When we are ready for dinner the rice is usually still warm enough to just scoop out onto a plate. Solar ovens meets our three criteria.

Lastly, it is critically important to remember to not electrify inefficiency. “Efficiency first,” so the loading order goes. (1. energy efficiency, 2. demand response, 3. clean distributed energy resources). Simply electrifying a bad or inefficient system is not the best way to go about things. The obvious case is solar photovoltaics (PV). Although PV costs have dropped precipitously over the past 15 years, solar panels are still expensive. It makes sense to look at ways to maximize efficiency, which often costs far less than PV, prior to calculating the size of PV array needed.

It is important to consider that a key benefit is in the specific cases where the technology itself is much more efficient. Resistance electric heaters are electric, but not efficient. They use a lot of energy, and potentially can burn more natural gas and have higher greenhouse gas emissions, than burning natural gas in a home heater. Electric heat pump space and water heaters are helpful because they are two to three times more efficient than a gas or resistance electric heater. So it is important to consider what kind of electrification technology we are talking about.


Simply electrifying transportation will still leave us with congestion and a system that does not meet the needs of a large portion of the population. To address the transportation question adequately, investments not just in electrification, but in public transit, pedestrian and bicycling amenities should be considered. Beyond that, we can look at advancing ways to reduce the need for travel at all, such as teleworking, and redesigning our urban environments to be more conducive to non-powered transit. This is not to say that powered transportation should not be electrified. It should. The point is that we should look at these systems holistically and aim to address some of the problems that won’t be solved by electrification alone.

For greater penetration of variable clean energy sources (wind and solar), there is a critical need for tandem technologies to be deployed. A clear example is the abundance of solar PV available but not always needed during the day. We need a place to store that energy. So in the same breath that we talk about electrification we need to talk about technologies such as energy storage and automated demand response in order to realize the full benefits.

Let’s not forget about conservation. With the world population projected to reach about ten billion by 2050, resources required for the batteries and other technologies that make electrification possible will not be infinite. Conservation means reducing energy consumption by simply using less of a service, especially where that service itself is frivolous, wasteful, or not really benefiting people.

Lastly, as we consider beneficial electrification, the social, political, economic, and cultural contexts of energy use should be taken into account. Energy democracy, social justice, affordability, and concern for the effect on communities, wildlife habitat, and natural resources must be included as part of the analysis. Yes, we need to scale up renewable energy in the built environment and expand electric vehicle adoption. But if the broader context is not brought to the center of the discussion, a blind push to electrify everything could ultimately be counterproductive to the main problem that electrify everything claims to solve – addressing the climate crisis.