Requested Executive Order to Achieve Net-Negative Emissions and the Start of Drawdown by 2030 for A Climate-Safe Future

Draft v2 Sept 17 2020

Press Release: Climate Center Urges Governor Newsom to Issue Comprehensive Climate Executive Order, September 22, 2020

WHEREAS California is in an existential climate emergency, amidst extreme heat waves, severe megadrought and climate change-fueled wildfires that have already burned millions of acres, more acres than any previous single year on record, causing significant damage and loss of life, property and natural resources, while also producing a toxic smoke storm further threatening the health of millions during the COVID pandemic; and

WHEREAS climate change impacts are rapidly worsening and faster than anticipated with nine of 15 global tipping points already activated and on par with the United Nations climate scientists panel’s worst-case climate scenario at the current 1.1 degree Celsius of global warming above pre-industrial levels, including accelerated ice sheet and glacier melt, and abrupt permafrost thaw, along with increased ocean heating and jet stream extremes driving more record-breaking and deadly heat waves, droughts, fires, storms and floods, putting human and wildlife communities at increasingly greater risk both in California and globally; and

WHEREAS despite a temporary drop in greenhouse gas emissions due to the coronavirus pandemic, without intervention emissions are expected to continue rising globally, including the powerful warming compound methane from fossil fuel production in the US and agriculture globally, unless aggressive new reductions policies are enacted; and

WHEREAS the economic cost of maintaining the status quo is much greater than the cost of action, with damages from delayed greenhouse gas reductions in the US costing an estimated $600 billion per year as of 2020, and insured and uninsured losses totaling $80 billion in California in 2019 alone due to wildfires; and

WHEREAS nations of the world came together in 2015 to adopt the Paris Agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which calls for preventing average global temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to keep warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius; and

WHEREAS attempting to remain within the less dangerous realm of below 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming above pre-industrial levels requires rapid and massive reductions in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 as well as major progress on sequestration of up to one trillion tons of warming compounds already in the atmosphere from human activity; and

WHEREAS to reach the climate targets necessary for an inhabitable world, California must invest in providing comparable jobs with transferable skills and workforce training for long term, career employment to those currently working in the oil and gas sector while preserving and improving the workers’ healthcare and pension benefits, and protect worker’s health to build, operate and maintain diverse clean energy infrastructure; recognizing that significant workforce power will be required to achieve the pace and scale necessary to shift California away from fossil based technologies, the state must also commit to creating a training and employment pathway for frontline communities disproportionately impacted by climate change, including low-income communities and communities of color; and

WHEREAS $2.2 billion from Californian’s Cap and Trade program supported direct employment of 36,106 job years from 2013-2016 primarily in the building trades, as well as in architecture, engineering, and transportation, investments in clean energy generate more than twice the jobs as in fossil fuels, and $80 billion in public and private climate-related investments can generate 725,000 jobs in California; and

WHEREAS California’s lower-income communities, which are primarily Indigenous and communities of color, suffer disproportionately from climate change impacts such as heat extremes and poor air quality as well as from exposure to pollution from freeways, oil rigs and other oil and gas infrastructure, with significantly lower life expectancy as well as higher rates of asthma, cancer, and other diseases than those in wealthier neighborhoods; and

WHEREAS California has taken numerous steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in transportation, industry, electricity, buildings, and agriculture, successfully reaching its 2020 target of 1990 levels of emissions four years early, and the state has initiated investments in pilot programs on working and natural lands management and restoration for sequestration along with multiple co-benefits including enhanced water storage, food production and biodiversity; and

WHEREAS California is revered nationally and globally for its vanguard climate change leadership, previously established state targets to reduce carbon emissions and initiate drawdown are inadequate to meet the existential climate change threats facing the state and require much more aggressive policies and timelines to achieve urgently needed greenhouse gas reduction and resilience goals; and

WHEREAS California can lead the nation and the world, building on its innovative and trend-setting economic, technological, ecological and diverse human community attributes, to lead the nation and the world towards a more sustainable, equitable and vibrant climate-safe future;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, GAVIN NEWSOM, Governor of the State of California, in accordance with the authority vested in me by the Constitution and statutes of the State of California, do hereby issue this Executive Order, effective immediately:


  1. A new statewide goal is established to achieve net-negative greenhouse gas emissions and the start of drawdown by no later than 2030 while ensuring that every California community has the resources to be resilient to growing climate extremes. 
  2. A new cabinet secretary position shall be established to lead cross-sector accelerated climate emergency policy development and implementation, and, to lead the establishment of near-term specific deadlines to realize climate policy goals to achieve the net-negative by 2030 target.
  3. The California Air Resources Board shall work with relevant state agencies to develop a framework for implementation and accounting that tracks and reports progress toward this goal, including consumption and out-of-boundary related emissions, and shall work with relevant state agencies to recommend and accelerate rules to achieve 80% below 1990 levels of greenhouse gas emissions and net-negative emissions by 2030. 
  4. All policies and programs undertaken to achieve net-negative emissions by 2030 shall be implemented in a manner that ensures that workers and communities dependent on fossil fuel industries are provided skilled and good wage, transferable jobs that take advantage of their existing skill set and are not left behind.
  5. All policies and programs undertaken to achieve net-negative emissions by 2030 shall seek to prioritize and ensure accessibility to state clean energy and mobility incentive programs as well as improve air quality and enhance the health, economic and energy resilience of urban and rural communities, prioritizing frontline communities, including low-income communities and communities of color.  
  6. It is the intent of this Order to accelerate the phase-out of development, production, and use of fossil fuels in transportation, building and other sectors to cut emissions to 80% below 1990 levels (86 million metric tons annually) by 2030 in the following ways, including but not limited to:
    1. All state agencies shall reprioritize expenditures and align their budgets with these climate goals and demonstrate how their programs help achieve net negative emissions by 2030 on an annual basis.
    2. The California Department of Conservation Geologic Energy Management Division and other relevant agencies shall immediately halt any new oil and gas drilling and infrastructure development and permitting in the state.
    3. The California Department of Conservation Geologic Energy Management Division (CalGEM) shall work with all relevant state agencies and relevant stakeholders to institute a program to expeditiously cap idle and abandoned oil and gas wells, and identify and reduce leaks from active oil and gas wells.
    4. Appropriate state agencies shall engage labor including the building and construction trades and others representing oil, gas and utility workers, as well as local governments, businesses, environmental justice leaders, community members and other interests to develop an implementation plan for a just transition program for oil, gas and utility employees, to be completed by 2021 and to begin implementation by no later than 2022. 
    5. The California Department of Motor Vehicles and other relevant agencies shall develop a program by 2021 to phase out registrations of new gas powered vehicles, ensure that no new gas powered vehicles may be registered by no later than 2030, and pursue other activities needed to achieve 80% below 1990 levels of GHG emissions and net-negative emissions by 2030.
    6. The California Environmental Protection Agency working with other relevant agencies shall develop plans by 2021 for realizing a new goal of 15 million ZEVs, the required charging infrastructure and other policies needed in the state by 2030 to achieve 80% below 1990 levels of GHG emissions and net-negative emissions by 2030.
    7. The California Department of Transportation in collaboration with the Strategic Growth Council and other relevant agencies shall prioritize and accelerate existing programs implementing transit oriented development, including but not limited to complete streets, bike and pedestrian ways, and clean mass transit to ensure every Californian has access to transportation options as we progress toward the net-negative emissions by 2030 target. 
    8. The California Energy Commission with other relevant agencies shall promulgate a plan through its existing Integrated Energy Policy Process and other pathways to achieve 100% clean energy (as previously defined by SB100) by no later than 2030.
    9. The California Public Utilities Commission is requested to assess the establishment of tariffs to support the development of clean energy microgrids and to expand utilization of zero-emission vehicles as grid resilience assets in alignment with the goals above.
    10. The California Energy Commission and other relevant agencies shall enact a new zero-emissions code immediately for all new buildings, and establish plans and regulations by 2022 to phase out methane gas from existing building stock by 2030.
    11. California Department of Food and Agriculture, Department of Conservation, Department of Natural Resources and other relevant agencies shall develop plans and policies by 2021 to ensure vastly reduced GHG emissions in agricultural production, and natural lands and water management by 2030, and develop partnerships with federal natural resource management agencies to enact similar policies within the state on federal lands and waters. 
  7. The California Natural Resources Agency, the California Environmental Protection Agency, the California Air Resources Board, the California Department of Food and Agriculture and other relevant state agencies and tribal stakeholders shall develop plans and sequestration targets consistent with the net-negative emissions by 2030 target by 2021, including developing programs for implementing habitat and soil management and restoration practices on California’s working and natural lands sufficient to sequester an additional 100 million metric tons of CO2e annually by 2030 while increasing water holding capacity and supporting biodiversity.
  8. The California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, the Office of Planning and Research, and other relevant agencies shall develop a plan to enhance community resilience including reducing ambient temperatures through programs that support cool roofs, complete streets, shade structures and tree planting that reduce heat impacts by up to ten degrees; mitigating extreme heat, wildfire, smoke and floods through resiliency centers; deploying resilient clean energy back up power; employing resilience specialists; and, developing online tools to immediately enhance Californian’s response and resiliency to extreme heat, floods, wildfires, smoke and other events.
  9. The Office of Planning and Research (OPR) and other relevant agencies shall develop a framework to support the efforts of local governments to plan for and increase the resilience in their communities including but not limited to fire mitigation and hardening measures, clean backup power for critical facilities and infrastructure, emergency communications, and enhancing natural climate solutions in urban, exurban and rural regions in a manner consistent with achieving net-negative emissions by 2030. OPR shall prioritize finding ways to allocate the needed funding and support to all of California’s counties and cities to develop and implement climate emergency response and preparedness measures for resilience, prioritizing frontline communities, including low-income communities, Indigenous communities and communities of color.
  10. California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection and other relevant agencies shall develop a plan by December 2020, in consultation with tribal members who have practiced effective fire management for hundreds of years, to significantly increase acreage annually under ecologically appropriate vegetation and fire management and treatment for enhanced resilience to growing drought and wildfire extremes.
  11. Relevant state agencies shall work to develop policies and statutes by 2021 supporting significantly increased internet access and adoption of telecommuting opportunities for the workforce, students, business, and government consistent with achieving net-negative emissions through reduced vehicle miles traveled while increasing community resilience by 2030, prioritizing frontline communities, including low-income communities, Indigenous communities and communities of color.
  12. The California Department of Finance, California Alternative Energy and Advanced Transportation Financing Authority, the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development and other relevant agencies are directed to develop a plan by 2021 for new climate funding mechanisms such as climate bonds and frequent flyer fees to begin implementation by 2022 in order to generate an additional $12-$20 billion of investments required annually over the next decade to fund that state’s urgent climate action, leveraging private funding opportunities whenever possible.
  13. All policies and programs undertaken to achieve net negative emissions by 2030 shall be implemented in a manner that supports climate adaptation and biodiversity, including protection of the state’s water supply, water quality, soil health, and native plants and animals.
  14. State agencies will engage the support, participation, and partnership of local and tribal governments, universities, businesses, investors, NGOs, environmental justice leaders, communities, and others, as appropriate, to achieve the goals contained in this order. 

This order is not intended to, and does not create, any rights or benefits, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity, against the State of California, its agencies, departments, entities, officers, employees, or any other person. 

IN WITNESS WHEREOF I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Great Seal of the State of California to be affixed this [XX] Day of September, 2020


Governor of California