California Youth Urge Democrats to Sign No Fossil Fuel Pledge

Cory Booker signs the No Fossil Fuel Money Pledge June 1, 2019. Photo courtesy of the Sunrise Movement. |  

By Dan Bacher |  

San Francisco - Over twenty Democratic leaders, including Kamala Harris and Corey Booker, agreed to refuse donations from fossil fuel executives and lobbyists at the California State Democratic Convention this weekend, a result of pressure from grassroots youth activists with the Sunrise Movement.
“The commitments are part of a national campaign to end the influence of the fossil fuel industry,” according to today’s press release from the Sunrise Movement, Youth vs. Apocalypse and Earth Guardian.
After months of conversation with the campaign, Cory Booker officially signed the No Fossil Fuel Money Pledge.
“We’ve been urging Cory Booker to sign the No Fossil Fuel Pledge for months now, so we were thrilled to see him step up, meet with us, and get it signed”, said Phillip Dupree, 29, a member of the Sunrise Movement Bay Area. “The fossil fuel industry has willfully deceived and misled Americans and the world on the harm being caused by their industry for decades now. Publicly acknowledging that you will represent the people and the planet and not wealthy executives is an absolute base-level requirement for the 2020 candidates.”  
As of this time, former vice-president Joe Biden is the only major 2020 Democratic presidential candidate who has not signed the pledge, the groups said.
“As young people, we are counting on our elected officials to reject the corrupting influence of fossil fuels on our politics and stand up for bold and just climate action. We are disappointed to see Biden lagging behind other presidential candidates in doing the bare minimum: rejecting money from the oil and gas lobby and fossil fuel CEOs,” said Zoë Cina-Sklar, a volunteer with Sunrise Movement, 26, of Oakland, CA.
“During a flash mob and press conference, leaders from Youth vs. Apocalypse, Earth Guardians and Sunrise called on Democratic politicians at every level of government to pass Green New Deal legislation that creates millions of good jobs and ensures a just transition off of fossil fuels,” according to the groups.

Youth v. Apocalypse member Isha Clarke speaks at a press conference at the California Democratic Convention June 1, 2019. Photo Credit: Rebecca Auerbach. 
“Our lives are at stake,” said Samantha, a 12-year-old member of Youth Vs Apocalypse.
While the state Democratic party has portrayed itself as a leader on climate action, California policy does not reflect the latest science from the IPCC that calls for massive reductions in emissions across all sectors of the economy by 2030, the groups stated.
“California Democrats consider themselves climate leaders, but the fact is that we are still an oil producing state without a plan for a just transition off of fossil fuels by 2030,” said Muriel MacDonald, 28, an organizer with Sunrise Bay Area.
“Many influential Democrats in Sacramento and Washington continue to accept tens of thousands of dollars from fossil fuel industry lobbyists and CEOs. The chair of the State Assembly’s transportation committee, Jim Frazier (AD-11), received $184,774 from oil and gas in between 2012 and 2018, including major contributions from Chevron and Exxon. He has consistently hampered electric vehicle transition bills from moving through committee. On Saturday, he refused to sign the No Fossil Fuel Money Pledge when confronted by Sasha Nicholson of Sunrise Bay Area,” according to the groups.
“Youth activists will continue to push the California Democratic Party until a concrete climate plan to ensure a just transition by 2030 is released,” they said.
Most Californians, including many environmentalists, are unaware of how effectively Big Oil and the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA) have captured California regulators, in spite of the state’s “green” image.
A review of state permitting records in last year’s report “The Sky’s The Limit: California,” shows that more than 21,000 oil and gas well drilling permits were issued during the Jerry Brown administration. These wells include 238 new offshore wells approved between 2012 and 2016, according to Department of Conservation data analyzed by the Fractracker Alliance:… 
The Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA) is not a household name in California, but it should be. It’s the trade association for the oil industry and the largest and most powerful corporate lobbying organization in the state. If you want to know the industries, organizations, and people that control California, WSPA and Big Oil are right at the top of the list.
WSPA represents a who’s who of oil and pipeline companies, including AERA. BP, California Resources Corporation, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Exxon, Plains All American Pipeline Company, Valero and many others. The companies that WSPA represents account for the bulk of petroleum exploration, production, refining, transportation and marketing in Arizona, California, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington, according to the WSPA website,
WSPA and Big Oil wield their power and influence over public discourse in 6 major ways: through (1) lobbying; (2) campaign spending; (3) serving on and putting shills on regulatory panels; (4) creating Astroturf groups: (5) working in collaboration with media; and (6) contributing to non profit organizations. 
For a complete analysis of how Big Oil and WSPA exert their power and influence over public discourse and California regulators, read my article here:

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