(Full post) In 2022, you changed the way that climate plans get written. As California’s top air regulators put together their 20-year climate blueprint for California this year, thousands of people joined us in taking action to demand a climate plan that puts us on a path to a future beyond oil and gas where our families are safe from toxic pollution, asthma, and cancer.
Together, we sent over 10,000 letters to the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and placed hundreds of calls to Governor Newsom. We held community meetings and rallies from Richmond to the Central Valley, and turned out in force to meeting after meeting in Sacramento.
In response, CARB made changes to the plan that will have huge implications for communities across California. The final Scoping Plan, which CARB voted on yesterday:
✅Stops the expansion of dirty gas power plants, investing instead in offshore wind.
✅Doubles the state’s targets for reducing Vehicle Miles Traveled – meaning more mass transit for all.
✅Creates a multi-agency process to coordinate the phaseout of oil extraction and refining in California.
Together, these changes mean that communities like ours across the state will breathe cleaner air and live in healthier neighborhoods, and be able to walk, bike, and commute to work and school more easily.
However, major elements of the final plan will bring real harm to our communities and our climate. Alarmingly, the final plan still relies far too heavily on carbon capture schemes, which could keep fossil fuel infrastructure online indefinitely, in addition to subsidies for fuel sources like dirty hydrogen and biofuels that increase pollution in California’s working-class communities of color.
In the coming years, we will need to fight to make sure that the burden of the energy transition doesn’t fall on the communities already hit hardest by pollution.
At the meeting yesterday, CARB members and the Chair spoke in support of a permanent Environmental Justice Advisory Committee, which was instrumental in lifting up the voices and perspective of frontline communities in this year’s Scoping Plan Update. They also confirmed that there will be a dedicated process in 2023 to create rules regulating proposals for new Carbon Capture and Storage projects in California. These are procedural changes that our advocates have been calling for and that create real opportunities for us to make sure frontline voices are centered at CARB in the next few years.
But for right now, we should celebrate our wins. Whether you wrote a letter, called, marched, rallied, gave public comment, or engaged on social media – thank you for standing in solidarity with California’s frontline communities this year.