The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Jamie Henn,
In California: Aimee Dewing,

California Pledges to End Oil and Gas Production by 2045

California is the largest oil and gas producer in the world to make a pledge to phase out production


California Governor Gavin Newsom announced today that California, the world's 5th largest economy, would stop issuing new fracking permits by 2024 and completely phase out oil and gas production by 2045.

"It's historic and globally significant that Gov. Newsom has committed California to phase out fossil fuel production and ban fracking, but we don't have time for studies and delays. Californians living next to these dirty and dangerous drilling operations need protection from oil industry pollution today. Every fracking and drilling permit issued does more damage to our health and climate," said Kassie Siegel, Director of Climate Law Institute at Center for Biological Diversity.

The announcement is a breakthrough for "keep it in the ground" campaigners who have been pushing for over a decade to get political leaders to set clear timelines for phasing out fossil fuel production.

California is now the largest oil and gas producer in the world to commit to completely phase out production. The commitment is part of a growing wave of global action to keep fossil fuels in the ground. In December, Denmark announced it would immediately stop new oil and gas exploration and phase out all production by 2050. Costa Rica, Ireland, France, Spain, New Zealand, Portugal, and Belize, along with other subnational jurisdictions, are also at varying stages of banning oil and gas expansion.

Climate advocates hope that today's announcement increases pressure on other oil producing countries, including the United States, to set clear deadlines for phasing out production.

"California's announcement today is the future of climate action: a clear commitment to keep fossil fuels in the ground," said Jamie Henn, director of Fossil Free Media. "This is exactly the type of commitment that we need to see from the Biden Administration and other governments around the world. The challenge now is to speed up the timeline so that it meets the urgency that science and justice demand. Drilling for fossil fuels is just as dangerous today as it will be in 2045."

California's commitment comes on the heels of President Biden's Leaders Summit on Climate, which faced criticism for not tackling the issue of fossil fuel production. Numerous reports have made clear that the only way to meet the 1.5 degrees target enshrined in the Paris Climate Agreement is to immediately stop new fossil fuel exploration and rapidly phase out production.

"Keeping global temperatures within 1.5degC temp rise means phasing out oil, gas, and coal production yet today 40 world leaders representing the world's largest producers and polluters failed to take the action needed. Commitments to reduce emissions, provide climate finance, and address adaptations were overshadowed by what was not promised: action to curb fossil fuel production," said Catherine Abreu, Executive Director, Climate Action Network Canada.

While climate justice advocates applauded California's decision, they were quick to criticize the slow timelines for ending fracking permits and phasing out production.

"The Governor's acknowledgment today that 'California needs to move beyond oil' is exactly right, but we must move quicker, and a fracking ban is only one piece of the puzzle. We can't risk another two decades of dangerous oil extraction, like cyclic steam injection and steam flooding, that threaten our communities' water and air, and our state's mosaic of natural resources," said Tara Messing, Staff Attorney with the Environmental Defense Center.

Advocates in California will continue to pressure Governor Newsom to speed up the timeline for ending fracking and other forms of oil and gas production. Meanwhile, advocates across the United States and around the world will continue to increase pressure for more announcements like California's: clear commitments to end fossil fuel production.