SACRAMENTO, CA — Since 1973, California Environmental Voters (EnviroVoters) has released our annual California Environmental Scorecard. For over 50 years, it has served as a key educational, transparency, and accountability resource for voters to get a view on how well their elected representatives are truly acting on climate and, today, EnviroVoters released its 2023 Scorecard.
Following a historic year of action in 2022, our state again took some monumental strides forward in 2023. But with every two steps forward, California took a step back undercutting our own progress. This pushed California from an A- grade (91%) in 2022 down to a B grade (86%) in 2023.
Major victories in 2023 include the passage and signing of Senate Bill 253 and Senate Bill 261, as well as establishing the Advanced Clean Fleets rule. But our state also cut critical climate funding, extended and expanded fossil gas plants, weakened environmental protection laws through the trailer bill process, and eleven critical bills were vetoed.
“California’s climate action in 2023 was two steps forward and one step back. While our leaders made historic progress in some areas, it was undercut with devastating anti-environmental action in other areas. Every year, we have to ask more from our government leaders than we’ve ever had to — our future depends on it.” said Mary Creasman, Chief Executive Officer, EnviroVoters. “We’re counting on our leaders to go big in 2024.”
“As Speaker of the California State Assembly, I am committed to working with my colleagues to elevate innovative climate solutions and further cement our state’s reputation as a world leader in climate action. California has strengthened protections for our most vulnerable residents and disadvantaged communities, and I am determined to further our state’s role in shaping environmental and climate policies that benefit all,” said Speaker Robert Rivas, a member of the 2023 Climate Action Caucus and the Courageous Captain.
Although corporate polluters continue to influence policy decisions in Sacramento, the newest class of legislators elected are rejecting the influence of Big Oil, reflecting the priority of voters for their leaders to reject dirty money.
An analysis included in the Scorecard reveals the average score of legislators who take oil money is 41%, while the average score of legislators who don’t is 96%, and the number of legislators directly taking oil contributions has dropped from 63% in 2022 to 52% in 2023. We’re proud that more than half of the new legislators who don’t take oil money were endorsed by EnviroVoters and replaced legislators who did take oil money.
“The stakes have never been higher for California to get it right on climate policy. I’m proud to be named a champion alongside colleagues I respect so deeply by such an indefatigable force for climate action: EnviroVoters,” said Senator Henry Stern, a member of the 2023 Climate Action Caucus and the Accountability All-Star.
“We have no time to waste when it comes to climate action, and it’s incumbent upon all of us to treat this fight with the urgency it deserves,” said Assemblymember Buffy Wicks, a member of the 2023 Climate Action Caucus and the Water Rights Defender. “I’m proud of the role I’ve played when it comes to housing – because good housing policy is good climate policy. It is imperative that we move forward into 2024 with these priorities hand-in-hand, making it easier to build housing while protecting our natural resources, changing how we think about our transportation investments, and moving toward more sustainable energy systems.”
Science tells us we have less than six years left to address the most severe impacts of climate change. EnviroVoters is calling on legislators to invest in climate solutions at the rate and scale required to address our climate challenge before time runs out at the end of this decade.
“I witness the impacts of extreme heat and air pollution on the people of my district, and I hear their stories. Proactive and community-led solutions can safeguard those underserved communities most impacted by the escalating threats of climate change. This is why I remain steadfast in my commitment to address the direct needs of my communities while upholding environmental justice for all Californians,” said Senator Caroline Menjivar, a member of the 2023 Climate Action Caucus and the Environmental Justice Trailblazer.
“As we look back on the achievements of the past year, it’s abundantly clear that California is a vanguard in the global fight against climate change and 2024 must be a year of bold action. The urgency of the climate crisis compels us to act decisively, and in doing so, California has a unique opportunity to assert its unwavering leadership at the forefront of the global climate movement,” said Assemblymember Rick Chavez Zbur, a member of the 2023 Climate Action Caucus and the Clean Energy Champion.
“This is a critical electoral year for democracy, so we know our leaders are going to be paying attention to voter sentiment. Californians want politicians to make the tough decisions, big investments, and hold corporate polluters accountable. Let’s make this a year of big steps forward with no steps back,” said Creasman.
The 2023 California Environmental Scorecard includes the following highlights:
- California’s Overall Score: 86%
- Governor Newsom’s Score: 80%
- Pro Tem Toni Atkins’ Score: 96%
- Speaker Robert Rivas’ Score: 96%
- 20 Legislators received a 100% Environmental Score in 2023: Assemblymembers Dawn Addis, Isaac Bryan, Wendy Carrillo, Laura Friedman, Matt Haney, Gregg Hart, Ash Kalra, Al Muratsuchi, Eloise Gomez Reyes, Christopher Ward, Buffy Wicks, and Rick Chavez Zbur, and Senators Ben Allen, Josh Becker, Catherine Blakespear, Lena Gonzalez, Caroline Menjivar, Dave Min, Nancy Skinner, and Henry Stern
- Members of the 2023 Climate Action Caucus (environmental champions fighting for bold policy change to address the climate crisis in Sacramento): Speaker Robert Rivas, Senator Caroline Menjivar, Senator Henry Stern, Assemblymember Buffy Wicks, and Assemblymember Rick Chavez Zbur
- Members of the 2023 Polluter Caucus (legislators who refused to support climate policy, even during an epic climate year with many opportunities to lead): Senator Marie Alvarado-Gil, Senator Steve Glazer, Assemblymember Jasmeet Bains, Assemblymember Stephanie Nguyen, and Assemblymember Blanca Rubio
- Percent of Legislators Who Accepted Oil Money: 52%
- Percent of Democrats in the State Legislature Who Accepted Oil Money: 38%
- Percent of Republicans in the State Legislature Who Accepted Oil Money: 100%
- Average Score of Democrats Who Accepted Oil Money: 66%
- Average Score of Democrats Who Didn’t Accept Oil Money: 96%
- Overall Average Democrat Score: 84%
- Overall Average Republican Score: 8%
To view the full California Environmental Scorecard, visit here.
Erika Guzman Cornejo
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ABOUT CALIFORNIA ENVIRONMENTAL VOTERS
California Environmental Voters (formerly the California League of Conservation Voters) believes the climate crisis is here and this moment requires transformative change. California has the policy solutions to stop climate change but lacks the political will to do it at the rate and scale that’s necessary. EnviroVoters exists to build the political power to solve the climate crisis, advance justice, and create a roadmap for global action. We organize voters, elect and train candidates, and hold lawmakers accountable for bold policy change. We won’t stop until we have resilient, healthy, thriving communities, and a democracy and economy that is just and sustainable for all. Join us at www.envirovoters.org and on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. See more press releases.