San Jose Asemblymember Ash Kalra (CA-27) got an ‘A’ from the California League of Conservation Voters (CLCV), winning a 99% rating as a climate change champion when CLVC released its annual California Environmental Scorecard this year.
Unfortunately, the state of California got a dismal C.
The Scorecard is a comprehensive analysis of where the state’s leaders stand on the environment and climate change.
Kalra was named Nature Defender by CLVC for championing AB 3030 in the state assembly, to preserve biodiversity and access to nature. He was recognized as “someone the environmental community can always count on to be the progressive leader and environmental champion that California needs.”
Kalra’s track record supporting a range of environmental bills on the assembly floor (buffer zoners for oil and gas safety, clean cars, and transparency within the Department of Toxic Substances Control), earned a 100% rating for two consecutive years (2017 and 2018), and a 99% in 2019.
Most recently he co-authored AB 1289, with Assemblymember Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica), to help smaller family farms stay in business by transitioning from animal agriculture to sustainable plant-based agriculture.
Kalra stated that CLCV was his ‘go-to group “ for environmental leadership because they were helping combat the climate crisis with new, innovative proposals designed “to strengthen clean air and water for our communities.”
Mary Creasman, CLCV CEO, said that though California had a reputation for being progressive, 2020 was largely a year of ‘climate change inaction.’
Only 11 (nine Assemblymembers and two Senators) out of 120 legislators scored 100%.
Governor Gavin Newsom earned a score of 87% despite California’s poor track record on climate change initiatives last year, only because he issued executive orders at the year end to conserve biodiversity and boost climate resilience
CLVC said that the climate crisis took a back seat in Sacramento last year. For the first time, the annual Scorecard revealed that 70% of the California Legislature accepted campaign contributions from oil companies and major oil industry Political Action Committees (PACs). According to their analysis, 60% of Democrats and 100% of Republicans took these dollars.
Even though Kalra and a small band of legislators fought for climate justice, they failed to convince a majority in the legislature to pass bold policies. In reality, corporate interests are still calling the shots in Sacramento when it comes to the environment and public health, added Creasman.
“Corporate polluters continue to have an outsized impact on policy in Sacramento.”
With less than nine years left to address the most severe impacts of climate change, the California League of Conservation Voters is calling for renewed action in Sacramento and, in particular, the development of a comprehensive climate action plan for the state.
Mike Young, Political and Organizing Director at CLCV urged the Governor and the legislature to work together to renew their focus on the climate crisis. He pointed them to the Biden Administration’s climate action plan, with justice, jobs and public health at its center, nothing that “We need a vision for the future that centers the health and safety of Californians.”
CLVC called for California to create a clear climate action plan of its own, because “the country and the world is looking to California for leadership.”
California’s Overall Score: 74%
Governor Newsom’s Score: 87%
Assembly Overall Average Score: 71%
Senate Overall Average Score: 73%
Meera Kymal is a Contributing Editor at India Currents