Building decarbonization cuts pollution and boosts the economy. Here’s how state regulators can accelerate both.

by Silvio Marcacci, Forbes


  • Existing buildings and their components are difficult to replace and therefore are difficult to decarbonize
  • Residential and commercial buildings in the United States account for 1 billion metric tons of emissions annually
  • Electrification now reduces greenhouse gas emissions in 46 out of 48 states
  • It is cost-effective to build out all-electric buildings vs. incorporating natural gas
  • More equitable policies and incentives are needed to transition from gas to electric within frontline communities as an unmanaged transition could make gas prices four times more expensive
  • Electrifying buildings could help in job creation across the country

The Climate Center works toward electrifying buildings and vehicles using 100% clean energy sources such as solar and wind to eliminate fossil fuel-based emissions. 

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Oil drilling near homes by haymarketrebel

AB 345 will fight CA oil industry’s environmental racism

by Jane Fonda and Don Martin, The Sacramento Bee


  • Politicians that allow pollution in our state’s most vulnerable neighborhoods, which are disproportionately communities of color, are signaling that this environmental racism is not a concern and that people of color are “disposable”
  • Over 215,000 people in Los Angeles live within 2,500 feet of an active oil and gas well
  • Exposure to gases and chemicals from the fossil fuel industry are causing massive health issues, such as asthma and cancer
  • A Stanford study found that pregnant women living near oil and gas wells in California face a high risk of preterm birth, with Black and Latinx women facing the highest risks
  • People exposed to large amounts of pollution are more likely to have severe and lethal effects of COVID-19
  • AB 345 will establish a state law that requires oil and gas drilling sites to be 2,500 feet away from homes, schools, and hospitals
  • However, the LA County Department of Regional Planning recently released plans for a 500-foot buffer zone from new drilling sites which is not an adequate distance 
  • Passing AB 345 will let Californians know that our elected representatives care about communities of color and are working toward ending environmental racism 

Take action to support AB 345. Increased air pollution from fossil fuel emissions makes all of us more vulnerable to the current COVID-19 pandemic. For a safe and healthy future for all, endorse the Climate-Safe California Platform to implement scalable solutions that can reverse the climate crisis.

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California is re-evaluating cap and trade

by Rachel Becker, CalMatters


California has relied on its carbon cap and trade program to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the state. Many believe this policy is not strong enough to reduce emissions to 40% below 1990 levels and now the state must decide if it will reform the program.

  • California was the first in the United States to implement a cap and trade program and it is now one of the largest pollution markets in the world
  • In the past two years, the auctions of pollution permits gather $600 million per auction and the money is used for programs like EV rebates
  • Due to the unstable economy from the coronavirus pandemic, auction revenue is declining
  • Major polluters that purchase permits include oil refineries, power plants, transportation, and manufacturers
  • Polluters are not in favor of adjusting the cap and trade program, saying that it could increase the price of gas and consumer goods
  • Currently, the state is not on track to reach 2030 emissions targets and must reassess how to meet these goals

Using climate funding mechanisms, such as a carbon fee and dividend, we can effectively produce an additional $20 billion per year specifically for a climate-safe California while reinvesting back into our communities.

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In pandemic recovery efforts, polluting industries are winning big

by Beth Gardiner, Yale Environment 360


Polluting industries such as airlines and fossil fuel companies have been lobbying for bailout funds and loosening of environmental regulations during the COVID-19 crisis

  • Bailouts and lack of environmental regulations will create a  high-carbon legacy that will last much longer than the current pandemic
  • Since the pandemic, U.S. officials have finalized or advanced proposals to ease restrictions on logging, grazing, pipeline safety, and the disposal of radioactive waste
  • Changes to the Clean Water Act, Endangered species Act, and other environmental review processes have allowed the Trump administration to advance its anti-regulatory agenda
  • Chinese and South Korean Governments are also giving their coal industries a boost during this time
  • In Brazil, illegal loggers, miners, and ranchers continue their exploitation of the Amazon rainforest as the government does nothing to prevent these crimes
  • The CARES Act pandemic relief package allowed big polluters to obtain more deductions and bailout money

Fossil fuel divestment and the transition to 100% clean energy is critical to achieving The Climate Center’s goals under the Climate-Safe California Platform.

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Climate Justice is Racial Justice

The recent deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and too many others at the hands of police, are abhorrent and intolerable. Institutional racism, intentionally interwoven into the American fabric since long before our nation’s founding, has locked in major inequalities for people of color in wealth, income, education, health, jobs, housing, and public safety.

Black, Brown, and Indigenous people are more likely to be killed by police than white people, with virtually no officers charged, let alone convicted.

Toxic oil and gas infrastructure – from freeways to oil rigs–are often sited in communities of color, dangerously close to homes, schools, and hospitals due to historic redlining and redevelopment. Constantly in the pall of polluted air, they suffer from significantly lower life expectancy and higher rates of asthma, cancer, and other diseases than white people and those in wealthier neighborhoods.

And these same communities of color are being hit much harder by the dual pandemics of COVID19 and climate.

There cannot be climate justice without racial justice.

Shared responsibility and equitable, inclusive solutions are fundamental values we at The Climate Center strive to realize in our efforts to achieve speed and scale greenhouse gas reductions. We stand in solidarity with communities of color. We stand in solidarity with the protesters in the streets.

The climate movement cannot remain silent any longer. To achieve our urgent climate policy goals, we must close the climate gap to ensure communities of color are no longer disproportionately harmed. We must end police violence, white supremacy, and the environmental injustices that many Black, Brown, Asian and Indigenous communities experience daily.

Take action today. Learn about systemic racism, talk about it, speak out against it, practice anti-racism, and demand racial justice. Together we can ensure a just transition to a clean, green, and equitable future.

Following are a handful of the many resources available online: Systemic Racism Explained (short video), 5 Ways to Show Up for Racial Justice Today, Activism & Allyship Guide, 15 Things Your City Can Do Right Now to End Police Brutality, Anti-Racism Resources for White People, and 8 Ways Environmental Organizations Can Support the Movement for Environmental Justice.

Methane levels reach an all-time high

By Jeremy Deaton, Nexus Media


The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) found that the greenhouse gas methane has reached all-time high levels in the atmosphere, threatening Paris Agreement climate goals.

  • Methane is about 80 times more potent than CO2 and has been increasing its presence in the atmosphere for the last 20 years
  •  In 2019, the concentration of atmospheric methane reached nearly 1875 parts per billion, the highest level since record-keeping began in 1983
  • The primary source of methane are wetlands where microbes excrete the gas 
  • One human-caused source of pollution is large livestock farms where sheep and cows burp out methane
  • For the short-term, leaking oil wells can be plugged
  • Oil and gas firms could cut down methane emissions by nearly half if they invested in equipment that captures the leaking gas, but these firms would rather invest in new oil drilling sites in order to make more profits

The transition to 100% clean energy and electrification are a key to achieving the goals of The Climate Center’s Climate-Safe California Platform.

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Fracking rig operates next to a walking and bike way for residents of Signal Hill drilling into the Los Angeles Oil Field. Photo by Sarah Craig.

Gov. Newsom leads on public health, except when it comes to the oil industry

By Rosanna Esparza and Ashley Hernandez, The Sacramento Bee

ACTION ALERT: Send Governor Newsom a message now to reverse his decision and halt fracking.


California Governor Gavin Newsom approved 24 new fracking permits for the state in the midst of shelter-at-home mandates as the COVID-19 pandemic rages on.

  • Though Newsom is doing great at keeping Californians safe during this pandemic, his leadership and aggressive policies should apply to regulating and shutting down the oil industry as well
  • Pollution from oil wells is prevalent in places such as Kern County and South Los Angeles, leading these areas to have higher rates of respiratory issues
  • The oil industry has successfully lobbied the federal government in efforts to suspend environmental regulations regarding pollution due to the coronavirus. Now the California Independent Oil Producers Association has sent letters to the Governor asking him to halt plans to hire new positions at California’s oil regulating body intended to focus on enforcement
  • Governor Newsom should prioritize public health in our most vulnerable communities and not the needs of the fossil fuel industry

Increased air pollution from fires and fossil fuel emissions makes all of us more vulnerable to the current COVID-19 pandemic. With community energy resilience we can ensure that our power is clean and not further contributing to emissions in our communities. For a safe and healthy future for all, endorse the Climate-Safe California Platform to implement scalable solutions that can reverse the climate crisis.

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Trump’s move to suspend enforcement of environmental laws is a lifeline to the oil industry

By Marianne Levelle, Inside Climate News


The Trump administration suspended U.S. environmental laws due to calls for help from the American Petroleum Institute. The suspension of the rules will ultimately lead to more pollution, making more people in frontline communities susceptible to health risks, including COVID-19. 

  • The Environmental Protection Agency announced a policy that suspended enforcement and civil penalties for regulated entities that can prove the ongoing pandemic caused failure to comply with the law, allowing the oil industry to violate air and water pollution regulations at refineries
  • Gina McCarthy of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) calls the policy “an open license to pollute.” 
  • The industry sought out federal help after oil prices crashed due to Saudi  Arabia’s increase in oil production which impacted Russian and U.S. oil markets
  • Some members of Congress and oil executives wanted help in the form of direct financial support or trade halts with Saudi Arabia
  • The suspension of environmental laws will cause more pollution in communities surrounding refineries, making people more vulnerable to the respiratory effects of COVID-19

In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, we must re-examine the ways in which we move around. The Climate Center is committed to working with state and local lawmakers to put us on track for a Climate-Safe California, which will include climate-safe transportation.

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Air pollution linked to far higher Covid-19 death rates, Harvard study finds

by Damian Carrington, The Guardian


New research from the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health suggests that air pollution is linked to higher death rates for people that have contracted COVID-19 compared to those living in areas with cleaner air.

  • Living in a polluted city in the past has an effect on death rates for COVID- 19: Exposure to small particulate matter 15 to 20 years before the pandemic has had an effect on current coronovirus death rates
  • Abnormally high death rates due to COVID-19  in Northern Italy are likely due to the large amount of air pollution in that region
  • Previous studies on the SARS outbreak, which was another coronavirus, also suggest that air pollution increased the risk of death when infected
  • The study highlights the importance of enforcing air pollution regulations knowing that it has an effect on survival rates and that areas with high pollution must take extra precautions to avoid a higher death toll c
  • Despite this evidence, the US EPA under the Trump Administration just suspended enforcement of environmental laws

In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, we must re-examine the ways in which we move around. The Climate Center is committed to working with state and local lawmakers to put us on track for a Climate-Safe California, which will include clean energy and clean mobility.

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