Californians Stand Up for Environment, Get Real on Climate

Three weeks after the IPCC issued a sobering assessment on the state of our planet, California voters sent an unapologetic climate hawk to the governor’s office, along with an attorney general who holds the record on suing the Trump administration, and a slew of statewide legislative office holders to Sacramento to lead the fight for a clean environment and a robust inclusive economy for all. 

Californians are already feeling the effects of a warming climate: drought, wildfires, and coastal erosion are all too real here for millions of residents. It’s particularly tough for our most disadvantaged communities, without safe drinking water and clean air, in the path of industrial pollution and more. Making sure that California’s clean economy, renewable energy, clean cars, safe, affordable housing and transit-friendly development are available to all must be a top priority for the new administration. Continuing California’s international climate leadership through equitable and affordable solutions, and building up the resiliency of our natural resources here at home, should top the list of “to dos” for Governor Newsom and state legislative leaders. 

  • Los Angeles County, by passing Measure W with the required 2/3 majority, emerged as a leader in the water management paradigm of the future—use it wisely, diversify resources, increase self-sufficiency and plan for drought. This is an enormously promising direction for the state’s largest county to undertake. Congratulations and thank you to Supervisor Shiela Kuehl, Mayor Eric Garcetti and other visionary southern California leaders for supporting Measure W.
  • At the State level, Californians stood up for smart transportation and public health.
  • Voters saw through the cynical ploy of Prop 6 and rejected it by 55%, making sure that we continue making progress on building and repairing a 21st century transportation system that will help us cut dangerous pollution and place housing near transit, giving Californians more choices about where they live and how they get to work. 
  • Passage of Prop 1 helps jump start more affordable housing, making it more available for those who need it most.    
  • In passing Prop 12, Californians voted for humane conditions and less crowding for many animals raised on industrial farms. This could add human health benefits by reducing antibiotic use in meat and poultry production, which is critically needed to fight the global antibiotic resistance crisis. 

California continues to set the pace in combating climate change with common sense policies that reduce carbon pollution, promote clean energy, design housing and transit to cut auto emission and give people more transportation options. NRDC looks forward to working with the new governor and state officials to stand up for California’s environmental laws and to make progress going forward.  

About the Authors

Annie Notthoff

Director, California Advocacy, San Francisco and Sacramento

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