by Justin Gerdes, Greentech Media
Though California is a leader in clean energy within the US, it remains the seventh-largest oil-producing state and needs to take action to eliminate the fossil fuel industry.
- California leads the nation in solar rooftops and electric vehicles and also ranks fifth in installed wind capacity
- For full fossil fuel phase-out within the state, California needs to push aggressive demand-reductions or else oil from outside of the state will fill the gaps.
- Measures include reaching the goal of 5 million electric vehicles on the road to lessen drivers’ dependency on gas
“If we don’t stop using it, then that supply is going to get here, even if it’s not produced in-state,” says Elkind, director of Berkeley Law’s climate program
- The oil and gas industry is one of the Golden State’s most powerful special interest groups, which gives lawmakers pause when it comes to halting oil production
- The Western States Petroleum Association spent close to $9 million lobbying state policymakers in 2019
- Lack of federal help is also slowing down the fossil fuel phase-out process
- Governor Gavin Newsom has taken initial steps to increase oversight of the oil and gas industry
- He introduced new leadership after firing the state’s top oil and gas regulator for issuing too many fracking permits
- However, he has recently approved new drilling sites
- The oil industry could be a part of the phase-out process within the state as older workers retire, while younger generations are not quick to fill those employment gaps
- The industry could also facilitate the introduction of large-scale sequestration efforts