AB 1395: How the State Legislature Can Salvage Climate Action This Year

 AB 1395: How the State Legislature Can Salvage Climate Action This Year

California is on the frontlines of the climate crisis right now. Our state – especially low-income communities and communities of color – is already paying the price of climate inaction as we slip into another drought, experience an ever-worsening wildfire season, battle extreme heat, and struggle with the health impacts of toxic pollution contaminating our air and water.  

Recently, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a landmark report that confirms the climate crisis is human-caused and unequivocal. The report goes on to say that we are on track to keep warming until 2050, but we can limit further warming if we act aggressively to reduce carbon emissions.

However, since the legislative session started, most significant climate policies have already died for this year. This should ring the alarm for all of us that a dangerous pattern of picking corporate polluters over our future is growing in California.   

That is why we must ensure the passage of the most aggressive climate bill still alive this legislative session: Assembly Bill 1395, also known as the California Climate Crisis Act.

AB 1395 by Assembly Members Al Muratsuchi and Cristina Garcia would solidify the state’s goal of achieving net zero carbon emissions as quickly as possible, and by no later than 2045, while identifying strategies to reduce fossil fuels, using technology and nature-based solutions to reduce carbon already in the environment, and improving air quality and protection for frontline communities.

AB 1395’s movement from the Senate Appropriations Committee to the Senate Floor is an important turnaround in the final weeks of the legislative session. This important climate protection legislation has overcome a major hurdle, and Senate leadership must continue to show Climate Courage by standing up to Big Oil interests as the bill goes to the Senate Floor.

Californians are grappling with the devastating impacts of a rapidly changing climate. Our lives and our future depend on our leaders putting communities’ needs above corporations, and we deserve better. 

Bills that would have really moved the needle on the climate crisis were blocked or delayed. These range from banning dangerous oil drilling methods, requiring health and safety buffer zones between families and harmful oil extraction sites, getting fossil fuels out of our buildings, reducing single-use packaging, and holding corporations accountable for their carbon emissions. This all happened this year while climate action grows as a top priority for Californians.

Outside of Governor Newsom’s executive orders, 2020 was a dangerous year of inaction from our state legislature. We simply cannot afford to continue kicking the can down the road. We have the policy solutions to solve the climate crisis, that’s not the problem. The challenge is that we don’t have the political power and courageous leadership to do what’s needed.  

There is still some hope for climate progress this legislative session: Supporting the California Climate Crisis Act.

Getting AB 1395 past the Senate Appropriations was the first step. The next one is getting 21 YES votes in the Senate for the bill to pass.

Even though we’re only halfway through the year, California has already burned three times as many acres this year compared to 2020, and we once again face a crippling drought. To stave off even more catastrophic impacts, the science is clear that we must accelerate our efforts to reduce greenhouse gases and reverse the buildup of greenhouse gases already in the atmosphere through carbon removal and sequestration.

AB 1395 would reassert California’s climate leadership again. It would also complement Governor Newsom’s July 9th announcement to ensure the state is on the path to net-zero carbon emissions.      We are getting to the point of no return on the climate crisis. We are all relying on the state legislature to get bold and creative in salvaging this legislative session to ensure meaningful change in the short 9-year window left. This is only possible if our leadership finds the vision and courage to make protecting our future a priority.  

Posted on August 26, 2021 in ECOVOTE BLOG.

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