Rome: Newsom recall would signal a retreat on climate
Gov. Gavin Newsom stands alongside Rep. Zoe Lofgren, Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez and San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo at a news conference in San Jose on Aug. 16. Photo by Sonya Herrera.

We saw what happened when President Trump and his polluter allies took over the White House. We can’t let that happen in California.

Voting “No” on the effort to recall Gov. Gavin Newsom is a vote to defend our environmental victories and continue the momentum for even bolder climate action in the years to come.

We can see with our own eyes that action is needed right away. We are witnessing destructive wildfires, longer periods of extreme drought and intense heat waves. The latest report by United Nations climate scientists underscores how the climate challenges we face will continue to worsen, further threatening the health and wellbeing of our communities.

There’s no time to waver, delay or move backward on climate action, but that’s exactly what would happen if climate deniers recall Newsom.

Republican candidate Larry Elder regularly downplays the severity of climate change and, in a recent interview, talked about how he doesn’t want to “force-feed a renewables-based economy down the throats of people.”

Discussing climate change, Republican candidate John Cox said “I don’t know how much of it is caused by humans. I don’t even know how much of it is negative. I think there are some benefits to it.”

Republican candidate Kevin Kiley voted against California’s landmark renewable energy bill, against public safety buffers from oil and gas drilling and against preventing oil drilling in state waters. None of these candidates have plans to address climate change on their campaign websites.

California can’t stop climate change all on its own—but that’s precisely why our leadership matters. Gov. Newsom issued a bold executive order to protect our state’s land and coastal waters to fight climate change and defend endangered species. He accelerated our transition to clean vehicles to clean up dirty air and partnered with 14 other states to do the same. His administration just adopted a landmark state building code to transition new buildings off fossil fuels. Whether it’s conservation, clean cars and trucks or modern buildings, our state has an outsized role in setting the direction for other states and the world.

A resounding “No” on the recall shows Newsom and all of our Sacramento leaders that they’ve got the voters on their side. Let’s use the momentum to swap out dirty diesel trucks for clean, electric ones. Let’s heat and cool our homes with renewable energy instead of fossil fuels. Let’s race toward our goals of protecting 30% of our land and coastal waters by 2030 and zeroing out our carbon emissions by 2045.

The future of our state’s climate leadership isn’t the only thing that’s at stake in this vote. The organizers behind the recall effort are familiar to those of us who advocate for progressive and community-driven policy. Recall backers are anti-science, anti-choice, and anti-immigrant—in fact, the petition cites Newsom’s refusal to enforce violent, racist Trump-era immigration laws as the reason for the recall.

Californians have defeated these interests before because we know that their exclusionary point of view doesn’t match our California values. Vast majorities of Californians support climate action. We support a woman’s right to choose, we know that Black lives matter and we protect our undocumented friends, family and neighbors from attacks. We’ve beat back these organizers before, and by voting “No” in this recall, we can beat them again.

As we vote in this election, we’re facing intersecting health, economic, racial justice and climate crises. Fortunately, with our vote, we have a chance to affirm, once again, that California will not relinquish our role as a climate and environmental leader.  We can vote “No” to protect our environmental victories and make our voice heard for bold, brave climate action in the years to come.

Victoria Rome is the California advocacy senior advisor to the NRDC Action Fund.

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