Greenpeace Launches Climate Progress Rubric for Governor Gavin Newsom

by Katie Nelson

February 10, 2020

Greenpeace USA is laying out a new rubric against which a growing coalition of Californians will grade the Governor’s climate progress during his second year in office.

Sacramento, California, February 6, 2020 Just days before California Governor Gavin Newsom’s State of the State Address, Greenpeace USA is laying out a new rubric against which a growing coalition of Californians will grade the Governor’s climate progress during his second year in office. The rubric, which will periodically grade Governor Newsom throughout 2020, emphasizes phasing out fossil fuel production, implementing a just transition for fossil fuel workers to renewable energy jobs, and establishing a science-based public health safety buffer between fossil fuel extraction and sensitive sites where people live, work, and play. 

California has taken the lead in the U.S. by enacting strong policies to reduce demand for fossil fuels and challenging President Trump’s rollback of environmental protections. But there is more to be done. As the leader of a major oil-producing state, Governor Newsom has the opportunity to send a political signal to other leaders about what is possible and necessary — both in the US and globally — to ensure a managed decline of fossil fuel production and avoid the worst consequences of climate change while protecting public health and the most vulnerable Californians. 

Caroline Henderson, Senior Climate Campaigner at Greenpeace USA, said:

“It should be obvious that we can’t fight the climate crisis and expand fossil fuel use at the same time. So far Governor Newsom has made some courageous first steps on setting a goal of a managed decline of fossil fuels, but he must do more to put California on the right track. Governor Newsom must do more to phase out fossil fuel production in California and ensure a managed decline of oil and gas production in the state, while at the same time, protecting public health and building a just and equitable transition for California’s workers and communities.

“We are watching Governor Newsom. We will grade him on his actions and inactions, and will urge him to be the climate leader California – and the world – needs.” 

Gladys Limón, Executive Director at California Environmental Justice Alliance (CEJA), said:

“The Last Chance Alliance — a coalition of over 700 environmental, health, justice, faith, labor, community, parent, and consumer organizations — firmly holds that overcoming the climate crisis must start in our own communities.

“California cannot claim to be a global climate leader while we sacrifice the lives of families at the frontlines of oil operations and our climate future by drilling for some of the world’s most carbon-intensive oil. We continue to urge Governor Gavin Newsom to rise to this existential crisis and exert climate leadership with transformative action to stop new fossil fuel projects, drop existing fossil fuel production, and roll out a statewide 2,500-foot health and safety buffer between oil infrastructure and homes, schools, and other sensitive sites.”

The criteria that will be used to grade Governor Newsom’s climate progress in the next year is as follows: 

  1. No New Permits and a Managed Decline for Oil and Gas
  2. A Just and Equitable Transition
  3. Public Health Safety Buffer

The full rubric is available here



On Friday, February 7th at 11AM PST, actor and activist Jane Fonda and Greenpeace USA Executive Director Annie Leonard will launch the next phase of their iconic Fire Drill Friday protest rallies, this time at City Hall in downtown L.A. where they will call on Governor Newsom and other political leaders to take real climate leadership. For more information on the rallies, contact Travis Nichols at (206) 802-8498. 

The Newsom rubric is available here

To maintain independence, Greenpeace USA does not endorse or oppose any political party, candidate, or elected official. We work to hold all candidates for office to the standard that science says is necessary to avert climate crisis.


Katie Nelson, Strategic Communications Specialist – Greenpeace USA, (678) 644-1681, [email protected]

Katie Nelson

By Katie Nelson

Katie Nelson is a Senior Communications Specialist at Greenpeace USA.

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