California joined the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance (BOGA), an international group committed to phasing out domestic oil and gas production, on Thursday, becoming the only US state to be a part of the agreement.
For the last several years, California Governor Gavin Newsom has led directives and efforts to eliminate gas and oil production in California, as well as increase environmental justice measures. Among the most notable orders include ending all fracking in the state by 2024, stopping the sale of all gas-powered cars in California by 2035, and ending all oil extraction by 2045. While these actions have angered many in other states, as well as the federal government, Newsom and state officials have refused to budge on the issues despite the devastating effects they will have on California’s economy.
However, California had yet to put these efforts within an internal agreement framework, similar to how the US recently re-signed the Paris Climate Agreement. At the COP26 UN Climate Change meeting in Glasgow on Thursday, California finally made an international commitment to set an end date for all oil and gas exploration and extraction. Signed by Lt. Governor Eleni Kounalakis , California now joins Denmark, France, Costa Rica, Ireland, Sweden, New Zealand, Portugal, Wales, Greenland, and Quebec in backing the first-of-its-kind international climate agreement.
“California is a global leader in combating the climate crisis with bold action to protect our planet while growing the economy, but we can’t meet the challenge of this existential threat alone,” said Governor Newsom on Thursday. “With fossil fuels powering much of the global energy system, it’s critical that we partner with other states and nations around the world to build momentum for the phase-out of oil and gas production. Together, we must move beyond oil and usher in a cleaner and greener future that safeguards our communities, environment and the economy.”
California’s signing of BOGA, as well as other international agreements at COP26 this month, such as the COP26 Declaration on Zero-Emission Cars and Vans agreement, which sets a standard for achieving 100% zero emission vehicle sales by 2035 have been both praised by environmentalists in the state, as well as denounced by others for what the agreements will do to California’s economy in the next several decades.
“Electric cars and green energy are the future, but this agreement ignores a lot of key things,” said Elsie Taylor, an economist in California who specializes in how climate change and other environmental legislation impacts economies, to the Globe on Friday. “It’s not telling us how jobs will be replaced, what California should do to increase short-term power generation until green energy production and energy storage capacity increases, or if this will in any way boost green energy electric vehicle companies in California.”
“Plus, you only have a handful of countries and regions of other countries signing this thing, nearly all from Europe. How does this translate to easy assistance. Right now, it’s just the state government doubling down on its own policies through an international lens, no matter how much economic damage it will bring.”
COP26 is scheduled to end today in Scotland.
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