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A Senate Joint Resolution (SJR) which would add California to the ranks of governments and organisations calling for the non-proliferation of fossil fuels was passed by the State Assembly on Friday (1 September).

Specifically, the SJR 2 resolution, which was passed by a vote of 43 to 16, will request the US Federal Government to participate in the drafting process of the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty.

The resolution was introduced by California Senate Majority Whip Senator Lena A. Gonzalez, and co-sponsored by the NGOs, Indigenous Environmental Network, Stand.earth, and SAFE Cities.

Commenting on the vote, Alex Rafalowicz, Executive Director of the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty Initiative, said: ‘As the largest economy to embrace the Fossil Fuel Treaty, California sets a powerful example to the international community, underscoring the urgency of fast-tracking an equitable transition away from oil, gas and coal. This move will catalyse a ripple effect that reaches far beyond state borders. By aligning its immense economic and cultural influence with the Fossil Fuel Treaty proposal, California can accelerate its own energy transition, inspiring global cooperation to safeguard our planet and communities. We hope this move locks in real action on ending the era of fossil fuels in California, and spurs other regions, states, and countries to join forces in tackling the root cause of the climate crisis: the production of coal, oil and gas.’

Senator Gonzalez added: ‘It is essential that we commit once and for all to ending our reliance on fossil fuels. People around the world, especially low-income people of colour, are suffering the adverse health impacts of fossil fuel pollution, from asthma to cancer.

‘The recent devastating fires and hurricanes emphasize the urgency of taking action, to prevent further extreme weather changes.

‘The science has been clear for decades—fossil fuels are responsible for the climate crisis. We can prevent further harm to our communities, and that is why I am proud that California has now been added to the growing list of governments endorsing the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty.

‘It is time for our nation to be a part of the solution, to forge strong unity and commitment to phasing out the use of fossil fuels.’

The SJR 2 resolution is just one of many environmentally-focused initiatives which Senator Gonzalez has been backing in 2023. Her page on the California Senate website also outlines her interest in: SB 252 – The Fossil Fuel Divestment Act; SB 556 – The Oil & Gas Pollution Accountability Act; SB 674 – The Refinery Air Pollution Transparency & Reduction Act; SB 84 – Clean Transportation Program Reauthorization and Revitalization; SB 378 – Foam-Free State Parks; SB 507 – The Equitable EVs Charging Act; SB 529 – Electric Vehicles for All Act; and SB 695 – The California State Highway Transparency Act.

Friday's vote was welcomed by NGOs. Nathan Taft, Senior Digital Campaigner for SAFE Cities with Stand.earth said: 'Los Angeles was one of the first cities in the world to endorse the Fossil Fuel Treaty, and it’s great to see California following its lead by becoming one of the first subnational governments joining this movement to address the climate crisis with the scale and urgency required. At the same time, California must follow this historic resolution with concrete policies that protect its residents and the climate from fossil fuels. At a bare minimum, California should stop issuing new fossil fuel permits, divest its massive pensions from fossil fuels, and implement all-electric building codes.' 

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