Why the Paris Climate Goals Demand that California Lead in a Managed Decline of Oil Extraction
Oil Change International in collaboration with:
350.org, Amazon Watch, Asian Pacific Environmental Network, California Environmental Justice Alliance, Center for Biological Diversity, Center for Environmental Health, Communities for a Better Environment, Consumer Watchdog, FracTracker Alliance, Greenpeace USA, Physicians for Social Responsibility – Los Angeles (PSR-LA), Stand Together Against Neighborhood Drilling – Los Angeles (STAND-L.A.), The Center on Race, Poverty & the Environment, The Greenlining Institute
This study examines the implications of the Paris Agreement goals for oil production and climate leadership in California.
California’s leaders, including Governor Jerry Brown, have been vocal supporters of the Paris Agreement. Yet, California presently has no plan to phase out its oil and gas production in line with Paris-compliant carbon budgets. Under the Brown administration, the state has permitted the drilling of more than 20,000 new wells, including extraction and injection wells.
We provide new data findings related to:
- The climate implications of ongoing permitting of new oil wells in California;
- The ways that a managed decline of existing wells can prioritize health and equity; and
- Elements of a just transition for affected workers and communities.
We recommend that the state take the following actions:
- Cease issuing permits for new oil and gas extraction wells;
- Implement a 2,500-foot health buffer zone around homes, schools, and hospitals where production must phase out;
- Develop a plan for the managed decline of California’s entire fossil fuel sector to maximize the effectiveness of the state’s climate policies; and
- Develop a transition plan that protects people whose livelihoods are affected by the economic shift, including raising dedicated funds via a Just Transition Fee on oil production.
As a wealthy oil producer, California is well positioned to take more ambitious action to proactively phase out its fossil fuel production and has a responsibility to do so in order to fulfill its commitment
to climate leadership. By taking these steps, California would become the first significant oil and gas producer globally to chart a path off fossil fuel production in line with climate limits.