BREAKING: Greenpeace USA Confronts Governor Brown With Mock Oil Field at Capitol Building

by Kate Fried

August 9, 2018

Five weeks ahead of the Global Climate Action Summit, activists urge Brown to protect communities, phase out dirty energy

© George Nikitin / Greenpeace

August 9, 2018


Contact: Kate Fried, Greenpeace USA, [email protected], 202-257-0057

BREAKING: Greenpeace USA Confronts Governor Brown With Mock Oil Field at Capitol Building
Five weeks ahead of the Global Climate Action Summit, activists urge Brown to protect communities, phase out dirty energy

Sacramento, Calif.– Greenpeace USA activists have built a mock oil field on the lawn of the California Capitol building in Sacramento to send a message to Governor Jerry Brown about his climate legacy before Brown’s Global Climate Action Summit next month.  The public art installation features three oil pump jacks and a banner reading “Brown’s Climate Legacy?” Together, they send a message to Brown and state policymakers that it’s time to phase out fossil fuels once and for all while ramping up renewable energy in the state.

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“As Governor Brown steps on the world stage in September, he has a choice: leave a legacy of bold climate leadership that is a model for others to follow or leave one of poisoned communities and inaction on climate change when we needed it most,” said Greenpeace Senior Climate Campaigner Mary Sweeters. “Climate change is contributing to the conditions that exacerbate natural disasters like super storms and wildfires. It’s more urgent than ever that leaders like Brown protect our communities from the very real effects of climate change.”

Although Brown has set ambitious goals for emissions standards and renewable energy in the state, aiming to put 5 million electric vehicles on the road by 2030 and mandating that new homes must run on solar energy, California has an oil and gas problem. California is among the top five oil producing states in the U.S., and Brown’s administration has approved over 20,000 permits for new oil and gas wells.

Burning oil contributes to 60% of the state’s carbon dioxide emissions, and continued reliance on fossil fuels undermines gains made in the renewable energy sector. Phasing out half of California’s recent annual oil production – about 100 million barrels per year – could lead to a global emission reduction of 8 to 24 million tons CO2 per year, according to the Stockholm Environment Institute.

Public pressure on Brown to address California’s oil and gas problem is mounting. Earlier this week, six youth protesters were arrested in the Capitol at a demonstration urging Brown to take climate action. In June, more than  100 elected officials called on Brown to phase out fossil fuel production in the state. This followed the launch of Brown’s Last Chance, a campaign of 800 organizations throughout the state urging Governor Brown to make a significant commitment to ending California’s reliance on fossil fuels ahead of his upcoming Global Climate Action Summit next month. Brown’s Last Chance is asking Brown to:

  • Not issue any new permits for oil and gas wells or infrastructure
  • Establish a safety buffer of at least a half mile between oil wells and homes, schools, and places of work
  • Announce a plan to phase out existing fossil fuel production in line with the goals of the Paris climate agreement and to do so with a plan to protect industry workers and the most vulnerable communities that have been affected by the oil industry.

“Millions of Californians, particularly people living in low-income communities, inhale pollutants from oil and gas infrastructure located in the direct path of their homes, schools, and places of work. Today we brought the problem straight to Sacramento so Brown and other leaders can see how dirty energy is destroying our natural resources and communities and why he needs to take urgent action on climate change, said Sweeters.”

For interviews with spokespeople in Sacramento and for photos, contact Kate Fried at 202-257-0057, [email protected]


By Kate Fried

Kate Fried is a Senior Communications Specialist for Greenpeace USA. With nearly two decades of communications experience on behalf of progressive organizations, her work at Greenpeace focuses on deforestation and climate issues. She is based in Washington, D.C.

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