Pacific Environment Applauds Gov. Newsom’s Action on Fossil Fuels

Date: September 20, 2023

NEW YORK (September 20, 2023) — Today, in front of the United National Climate Ambition Summit hosted by UN Secretary-General, Governor Gavin Newsom highlighted California’s climate action and called out the oil and gas industry for their “continued lies.”

Today’s remarks echo the message sent by the State of California’s lawsuit filed on September 16, suing five oil companies for climate deception and damages. If successful, the suit will create a fund for climate disaster recovery and to safeguard communities. 

Teresa Bui, Policy Director, Pacific Environment, said: “We applaud Gov. Gavin Newsom’s climate leadership to electrify everything, and we hope to see the Administration call for zero-emission shipping by 2040 next. Decarbonizing the port and shipping sector is critical for the millions of citizens who breathe in shipping’s toxic air pollution. We have no time to waste. Just last week, a UN report found that the window is ‘rapidly closing’ to reach our climate goals and avoid more record heat waves, fires, droughts and storms. Today, UN Secretary-General Guterres issued a dire warning that ‘Humanity has opened the gates to hell.’ We are grateful to Governor Newsom for holding the fossil fuel industry accountable for its deception and damages, and we are proud of California’s leadership to move cars, trucks, and locomotives to zero emissions. Now, we need to put ports and shipping on a mandatory path to zero emissions by 2040.”

If shipping were a country, it would be the sixth largest polluter of greenhouse gasses (GHG), contributing more than 1 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide every year. We must tackle the industry’s emissions and mandate a zero-emission transition on a timeline commensurate with the climate emergency. The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (UN IPCC) released a final warning report in March of this year, AR6 Synthesis Report: Climate Change 2023, with the last viable set of instructions on how to keep global warming below the Paris Agreement’s goal of 1.5 degrees Celsius / 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit to prevent total climate and ecological collapse: global climate emissions must peak before 2025 and be cut in half from 2019 levels by 2030. 

In California, shipping emissions surpass heavy duty trucks and locomotives when it comes to diesel particulate matter. Ocean-going vessels are the number one contributor of cancer-causing emissions at the port. California has already taken steps to address in-port pollution with harbor craft and At Berth regulations, but it must address the most significant contributor to shipping’s pollution: in transit emissions. 

Governor Gavin Newsom in his press statement said that: “This climate crisis is a fossil fuel crisis. This climate crisis persists. It’s not complicated. It’s the burning of oil. It’s the burning of gas. It’s the burning of coal. And we need to call that out.”