Governor

Gavin Newsom

  • Party: Democrat
  • Years in office: 3

2021 Score: 82%

  • 85%Lifetime Score

Past Scores

  • 87%2020
  • 85%2019

Governor Gavin Newsom’s plate was full in 2021, leading the nation’s most populous state amid the second year of the pandemic and a vicious recall campaign. While the State Legislature failed to pass major climate policy for the third straight year, the Governor still has a responsibility to use his executive powers to take decisive and immediate action on climate. We didn’t necessarily see the Governor use his executive powers in 2021 in the same way we saw him do so the previous year. In 2021, the Governor directed CalGEM (the agency that regulates oil and gas) to phase out fracking permits, announced an agreement to build out new offshore wind energy, and highlighted new regulations proposed by CalGEM to address the dangers of oil drilling in neighborhoods. While important, none of these actions were carried out as executive orders, which carry more weight and can be used to make immediate policy changes on urgent issues. There was an important opportunity to make up for the lack of Legislative action on climate that the Governor fell short of taking full advantage of in 2021. As a result, his score dropped from 87% in 2020 to 82% for 2021.

Climate action is a team sport. Governor Newsom and the Legislature need to work together to make sure urgent climate legislation gets over the finish line. This will take real climate courage. The time to act on climate was yesterday, so there’s a real need for them to move quickly and make up for lost time by going big on climate action and reclaiming California’s place as a leader on climate policy. The Governor’s actions need to match his words.

One notable win for climate action in 2021 was that the Governor signed a state budget that included $15 billion in climate investments to be allocated over several years. And in January of 2022, the Governor proposed a budget that would build on that by proposing another $22 billion in investments towards climate action. We are excited to see the growing urgency of the climate crisis reflected in the state budget and are hopeful we will see the same urgency reflected this year in the Governor’s use of executive actions and work with the Legislature to ensure that major climate legislation passes.

Take Action

We encourage you to reach out to your legislator to let them know what you think about their environmental score and why it matters to you that they take action on climate.

How We Calculated The Governor's 2021 Weighted Score

90%Environmental Votes

10%CA Score

Extra Credit:

+1for a pro-environment executive order or action

Also included with Governor’s Score:

Pro-environment

Agency Action

California Moves to Prevent New Oil Drilling near Communities & Expand Health Protections

Full text of action

Moving to protect communities as the state works to phase out fossil fuels, Governor Gavin Newsom announced that the Department of Conservation’s Geologic Energy Management Division (CalGEM) released a proposed regulation that would prohibit new wells and facilities within a 3,200-foot exclusion area – or setback – from homes, schools, hospitals, nursing homes and other sensitive locations. It would also require pollution controls for existing wells and facilities within the same 3,200-foot setback area.

Pro-environment

Executive Action

Historic Agreement with Federal Partners to Advance Offshore Wind Development

Full text of action

Governor Gavin Newsom today joined Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland, White House National Climate Advisor Gina McCarthy and Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Dr. Colin Kahl to announce an agreement that opens up the West Coast for offshore wind development for the first time in history, a promising development that could help achieve the state’s clean energy goals, bolster renewable energy sources and create new jobs and investments in California.

Pro-environment

Executive Action

Newsom Takes Action to Phase Out Oil Extraction in California

Full text of action

Governor Gavin Newsom today directed the Department of Conservation’s Geologic Energy Management (CalGEM) Division to initiate regulatory action to end the issuance of new permits for hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) by January 2024. Additionally, Governor Newsom requested that the California Air Resources Board (CARB) analyze pathways to phase out oil extraction across the state by no later than 2045.