Op-Ed: UCSB Student Senate Demands Gov. Newsom Stop, Drop, & Roll for Climate

By Kathering Lane, third-year ES student.

UC Santa Barbara’s Associated Student Senate have just passed a critical resolution aligning ourselves with a statewide campaign calling on California Governor, Gavin Newsom, to stop issuing any new approvals for fossil fuel projects, drop existing fossil fuel production, and roll out strong 3200ft health and safety buffers – or setbacks – to end neighborhood oil drilling. UCSB now joins UC Berkeley as the second UC campus to endorse this campaign as well as San Diego Unified School District, San Diego City Council, and Sweetwater School District. These resolutions are part of a youth-led, statewide initiative to demonstrate support for the climate leadership that young people are requiring Newsom to exercise in the face of the climate crisis. This legislature at the collegiate level makes it clear that students want decisive climate action from the Governor and demand that he protects our future. 

Working alongside UCSB AS Senator, April Zhang, and CA Youth Vs. Big Oil, a youth-led network of climate environmental justice organizations, I had the honor to serve as the student sponsor for the resolution. I was ecstatic to see our student representatives vote in favor to support our demands. As young people in California, we are quite literally watching our futures go up in smoke and our political leaders are failing to act with anything like the urgency required of them. Big Oil has made it clear that it will stop at nothing to delay climate action and continue to profiting from the climate crisis and polluting communities [1]. We need leaders like Newsom to stand up for us and help lead the fight against these greedy fossil fuel tycoons. We need Newsom to take up the demands of the resolution, and to initiate California’s just transition away from fossil fuels. 

Newsom must take decisive action to be a true climate leader and ensure an equitable future for all. California has the 5th largest economy in the world [2] and has immense resources that could kickstart the action so desperately needed to combat the climate crisis. With the release of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s most recent and most dire report it could not be clearer that climate change is a “code red for humanity” [3]. In California we are already experiencing its consequences with worsening fire seasons and drought that devastate communities all over the state [4]. These extreme weather events are made worse by climate change which itself is fueled by the burning of fossil fuels [5]. The climate crisis is something that is here and that will only continue to worsen if we refuse to act as the task before us demands. 

But this future is not inevitable. There is still time to avoid the worst consequences of the climate crisis but only if our leaders act now.  To get there, we need Newsom to show urgent and unprecedented climate leadership which all starts with a phase out of, and just transition away from, fossil fuels. This transition must empower communities with their own autonomy to make decisions about how they get their energy and to ensure safe places to grow, learn, develop, and play. While grassroots organizers throughout California have been mobilizing against the hegemony of fossil fuels and making significant progress, efforts continue to be stalled or overturned by wealthy companies representing a narrow set of select interest groups. A report last week found Big Oil spent at least $4 million lobbying California politicians to delay action on climate and pollution in the first quarter of 2022 [6]. We need statewide climate leadership to hold large and powerful polluters accountable.  

Governor Newsom has already made some progress. He announced a ban on fracking by 2024, a commitment to phasing out fossil fuels entirely by 2045, and an end to new fossil fuel permits within 3200ft of homes, schools, hospitals and other sensitive sites [7]. However, we need him to do much more, much faster. He must commit to ending all new fossil fuel permits, not just fracking permits. He must accelerate the phaseout timeline to align with climate science. And, he must ensure that 3200ft setbacks cover both new and existing oil drilling. That’s why these resolutions come at such a critical time. All of us need to show massive public support for Newsom taking more decisive action 

We need Newsom to do even more to protect public health and to stave off more drastic climate change so communities that have been suffering can enjoy their rights to clean air, clean environments, and save places to live. We need Newsom to stand up for our communities who have been unserved and underserved. We need Newsom to realize a future that moves beyond fossil fuels without leaving anyone behind. Will you hear us Newsom? We are counting on you and the future is too, now is the time to act! Newsom: Stop, Drop, Roll for our communities and our climate!”

Op-Ed’s are written by community members, not representatives of edhat. The views and opinions expressed in Op-Ed articles are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of edhat. 
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  1. A nice article…completely divorced from reality. I know you are young and want to change the world, but we literally can’t go away from fossil fuels right now. We need to maximize green while keeping the oil flowing. If you hadn’t noticed we’re literally at Iran’s door begging them to increase oil production to try and cut off Putin’s war funding. Experts have predicted rolling power outages for the Summer. We need more green energy, of that you are absolutely correct. But it’s in addition to oil.

  2. COASTWATCH – “1000’s of wind machines…..We MIGHT be able to charge 300 electric cars a day!” Hey guess what? WAY more than that! Half that will power ONE POINT FIVE MILLION homes. But….. facts and all. I know, they suck!

  3. These students are clueless… but who isn’t at that age. The world can’t get off oil at this point… as anyone with even a modicum of sense realizes. Green energy is great and is the future… but we’re not there yet. And newsome has done enough damage already!!!!

  4. “These students are clueless… but who isn’t at that age. ”
    Many many people … and they have far more of a clue than you. This poisoning of the well is vile and self-serving … so typical of you.

  5. “Hire a college student- while they still know it all”
    The best way to tell if it is science or junk science is by how strident and loud they yell “the science is settled”. For gods sake, people are still testing gravity. And that is a good thing.

  6. Poisoning of the well? These young ideologues have no concept of reality. People are literally dying as we read/type this because we can’t shut off Russian oil to X number of countries who desperately need it and will pay russia and as such fund their war machine. Honesty might be out of grasp… but is reality as well?

  7. “ensure an equitable future for all” – what these entitled/privileged students are asking for will accomplish the opposite as energy costs continue to soar as a result of similar policies – which doesn’t impact the “haves” much at all but is devastating to the “have nots”. All these demands to stop anything related to fossil fuels ASAP but no actionable items to reliably replace that energy source in the same time frame.

  8. LOL! Hey, I know…. How about 1000’s of wind machines… Wind machines EVERYWHERE- In the ocean, on our coastal mountains, Hope Ranch, The Mesa, even on the UCSB campus…! We MIGHT be able to charge 300 electric cars a day!

  9. Those students should start by example nothing to do with fossil fuels get rid of their cars Even if they’re electric because it took fossil fuels to build them as well as the electric cars carbon footprint is not acceptable oh yes they should also give us any air travel besides a glider That has been made of nothing pertaining to fossil fuels

  10. Ms. Lane – Bravo! A well written OP-ED from a young person who will be inheriting our mess. Don’t let the trolls discourage you, they will be all over this.
    It’s funny how the word, “equitable” will always be a trigger for the con-sheep. You could say Newsome was planning to hand out equitable AR-15s and they’d freak out.

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