Democratic-Led Senate Fails to Pass Last Major Climate Action Legislation Amid Historic Wildfires, Severe Drought, Extreme Temperatures, and Increased Public Health Threats

Press Release
September 10, 2021

AB 1395 Would Have Accelerated California’s Progress to Become Carbon Neutral by 2045

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: Stefanie Lao, 424-282-0922, [email protected]

SACRAMENTO, CA – The Democratic-led California Senate today failed to pass the last remaining major climate action legislation this year, instead giving way to Big Oil and special interests fueling the climate crisis. AB 1395 (by Assemblymembers Al Muratsuchi & Cristina Garcia) would have accelerated California’s progress to become carbon neutral by requiring steep reductions in greenhouse gas emissions (90% below 1990 levels by 2045). The Senate’s failure to pass crucial climate action legislation means 2021 is another year of lost opportunity to address the climate crisis with the urgency and scale needed to curtail Big Oil and corporate polluters' devastating impacts on our environment.

“We implored California’s Senate leadership to stand up to Big Oil, corporate polluters, and the special interests fueling catastrophic climate change,” said Mary Creasman, Chief Executive Officer of EnviroVoters. “Our message was clear: delaying climate action legislation means the devastating impacts we continue to experience from intense wildfires, severe drought, extreme temperatures, and the increased public health threats driven by these unprecedented disasters will persist. Tough bills don’t pass in Sacramento without legislative leadership support, and we saw that leadership with the Assembly Speaker. What we need our government to do on the climate crisis is difficult, and we are relying on our Senate President to get involved and give these tough bills a fighting chance. Sadly, that didn’t happen today, and the consequences are dangerous for us all.”

Failure to pass significant climate protection legislation this year is particularly astounding given that Californians are living through record droughts and wildfires. Just this week, 200 top medical journals made an unprecedented joint statement declaring climate change, not COVID-19, represents the biggest global threat to public health. Warning the biggest threats are to the most vulnerable populations, the statement called for leaders to swiftly cut fossil fuel emissions to avoid "catastrophic harm to health that will be impossible to reverse."

“The Democratic-led Senate failed on their biggest remaining chance this year to protect Californians from climate catastrophe by reducing toxic levels of pollution and scaling back our reliance on dirty fossil fuels. With Californians already running from wildfires and wells running dry in the Central Valley, their lack of courage and conviction in confronting Big Oil is unacceptable,” said Creasman. “Big Oil’s grip on Senate Democratic leadership is why California families and children will continue to live, learn, and play dangerously close to oil drilling sites, why large corporations will continue to emit toxic levels of pollution without needed accountability or transparency to consumers, and why our homes will continue to be powered by dirty fossil fuels.”

EnviroVoters recently launched a campaign calling on Senate Democratic leaders – State Senate Pro Tem Toni Atkins, Majority Leader Robert Hertzberg, and Energy Chair Ben Hueso – to show their “Climate Courage” by passing AB 1395 after killing all the other major environmental bills this year. AB 1395 was the last opportunity to pass crucial climate action legislation this year. 14 Senators showed such courage, voting to support the measure, recognizing the need to protect our environment, health and economic future by reducing reliance on dirty fossil fuels.

“We thank our Climate Courage Champions Assembly Members Al Muratsuchi and Cristina Garcia for their leadership in authoring this crucial legislation and recognize the additional 14 coauthors of the bill in the Senate and Assembly for standing up to Big Oil and their special interests. Our fight to protect our future and build a healthier, cleaner California is not over.”

EnviroVoters AB 1395 Climate Courage Champions include:

California Environmental Voters (formerly the California League of Conservation Voters) believes the climate crisis is here and this moment requires transformative change. California has the policy solutions to stop climate change but lacks the political will to do it at the rate and scale that’s necessary. EnviroVoters exists to build the political power to solve the climate crisis, advance justice, and create a roadmap for global action. We organize voters, elect and train candidates, and hold lawmakers accountable for bold policy change. We won’t stop until we have resilient, healthy, thriving communities, and a democracy and economy that is just and sustainable for all. Join us at www.envirovoters.org and on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. See more press releases.

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