April 12, 2017
Dear Attorney General Becerra:
California has a tradition of leadership on environmental protection and climate change, from clean air regulations to vehicle mileage standards that have paved the way for numerous nationwide policy advances. As the White House and Congress move to roll back bedrock climate change policies, the state has continued to set the standard for climate action.
From the start of the new federal Administration, state attorneys general have emerged as sentinel defenders of essential protections of a civil society, once taken for granted. The president’s recent order to reverse course on climate change could cost future generations dearly. The impacts will be felt most severely by those in greatest need – urban poor, the elderly and children, traditional societies, agricultural workers and rural populations – according to California’s own Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration once again declared the past year to be the hottest year in recorded history. Here in California, in 2013 the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment measured 36 “significant and growing” environmental shifts in the state due to climate change. As a result of climate change, the California Natural Resources Agency reports the state is currently suffering, or is at risk of suffering a water supply shortage, wildfires, agricultural damage, and public health harms such as heat strokes, asthma, and heart attacks.
According to the California Department of Public Health, at least 140 people died during a 2-week heat wave in 2006. Many of these deaths occurred in historically low-income California counties where many are without access to air conditioning. Experts from the California Energy Commission project that by 2050, California will experience up to 53 extreme heat days per year. For context, the historical average is four days per year.
ExxonMobil is a leading fossil fuel company that has not accurately informed the public, policymakers or its shareholders about the serious risks associated with climate change. Further, ExxonMobil funds and funded organizations that have distorted the facts about climate change. Exxon knew of the many risks of climate change, how these risks influenced their own economic future, and still spent years actively distorting the truth.
We, the undersigned organizations, respectfully request you join the ongoing climate change investigation of ExxonMobil being conducted by fellow state attorneys general.
350.org San Diego
350.org Silicon Valley
350.org South Bay LA
The 5 Gyres Institute Los Angeles, CA
Californians Against Fracking & Dangerous Drilling
Center for Biological Diversity Sacramento, CA
Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL)
Center for Popular Democracy
Climate Hawks Vote Agoura Hills, CA
ClimateTruth.org Oakland, CA
Coalition for Clean Air Sacramento, CA
Coast Action Group Santa Rosa, CA
Corporate Accountability International San Francisco, CA
CREDO Action San Francisco, CA
Divest LA El Segundo, CA
Filipino/American Coalition for Environmental Solidarity (FACES) Oakland, CA
Food & Water Watch Oakland, CA
Friends of the Earth Berkeley, CA
Fossil Free California Oakland, CA
Greenaction for Health and Environmental Justice San Francisco, CA
Greenpeace USA Oakland, CA
Oil Change International
Presente Los Angeles, CA
Sierra Club Oakland, CA
Surfrider Foundation Santa Cruz, CA
Union of Concerned Scientists Oakland, CA