2020 California Environmental Scorecard


Climate Action Caucus

Members of the Climate Action Caucus are environmental champions fighting for bold policy change to address the climate crisis in Sacramento. These legislators deserve special recognition for their climate leadership.

Polluter Caucus

Members of the Polluter Caucus have prioritized fighting against protecting our future from the climate crisis through authoring anti-environmental bills or leading efforts to roll back our environmental and public health progress. These legislators do not represent voter’s priorities for climate action.

What Happened in 2020

The 2020 California State Legislature largely failed to take action on the climate crisis. Leadership in Sacramento lacked a clear vision or agenda on how to enact climate action. Democratic legislators even signed onto letters calling for rollbacks of environmental and air quality regulations, using the pandemic as an excuse to help polluting industries dismantle these critical protections. Luckily, there were a handful of elected officials in Sacramento who fought back against these exploitative calls for environmental rollbacks. Following this severely disappointing legislative session, Governor Newsom signed two major climate Executive Orders. Still, California’s position as a global climate leader remains in question, as Big Oil and other corporate interests continued to disproportionally influence state policy.

The 2020 November General Election’s climate-related results for California congressional and state legislative races were a mix of amazing and frustrating. There were notable key wins for climate candidates, especially in the California State Senate, where two anti-environment incumbents (Former Senators Ling Ling Chang and John Moorlach) were unseated by climate champions. Nationally, Kamala Harris became the nation's first Black, South Asian, female Vice President, and President Joe Biden was elected on a platform that included the most aggressive climate plan of any major party nominee before him. Leading up to the election, CLCV fought for policies to make voting easy and accessible, like mailing every registered voter a vote-by-mail ballot and maintaining safe in-person voting locations, leading to record high voter turnout. The voters of California have given the State Legislature and Governor a clear directive: prioritize environmental protections and bold climate action. CLCV is ready to hold them accountable to meeting that.

2020 CLCV Scorecard Explained

Since 1973, the California League of Conservation Voters (CLCV) has released our annual CLCV Environmental Scorecard, which rates the actions of the California State Legislature and the Governor on their environmental actions each legislative year. Through the Scorecard, we seek to accurately reflect the impact lawmakers have on addressing the climate crisis so voters can better understand how often their representatives in the State Legislature are voting for the environment.

How Legislators are Scored

We select the most significant environmental bills from the previous legislative session and track how every state legislator voted on each bill. Legislators' scores are shown as a percentage and are weighted to include each legislator’s own pro-environment committee votes and floor votes, their caucus’ average score (Assembly and Senate Democratic or Republican Caucus), and California’s overall score. Legislators who author a pro-environment Scorecard bill or a pro-environment letter are given extra points, and those who author an anti-environment Scorecard bill or anti-environment letter are given minus points.

How the Governor is Scored

The Governor is also given a score, which is weighted to include the signing or vetoing of pro-environment bills into law and California’s overall score. Extra points are included in the Governor’s score for pro-environment Executive Orders and actions.

Weighing the Scores

There are times when legislators fight hard behind the scenes to stop damaging and hazardous policy or fight for bold and important policy. Similarly, there are times when legislators aligned with polluters’ efforts behind the scenes to weaken or kill environmental bills before they can even get a vote. Voting records alone do not tell that side of the story. The weighted scoring method used by the CLCV Environmental Scorecard shines a light on whether the legislature is authoring and moving policy that will significantly move the needle on the climate crisis and who is actually leading by authoring these bills. The Legislature and Governor need to measure success based on their ability to pass bold climate policy and the entire state’s success in taking the action needed right now to protect our future.

Oil Money Badges

The CLCV Environmental Scorecard now includes an Oil Money Badge, which will be shown on the Scorecard page of every legislator who has accepted money directly from oil companies or from major oil company Political Action Committees (PACs) within the past six years. While direct contributions from oil companies and their major PACS is not the only way a legislator can receive funding from the oil industry, it is a helpful indicator as to who openly accepts oil company funding and who does not. It is imperative leaders reject the money and influence of this industry and hold them accountable for their role in creating the climate crisis.

HAS ACCEPTED
OIL MONEY

Whenever you see this image on a legislator’s Scorecard page, they have accepted money from oil companies.

How to Use the CLCV Environmental Scorecard

This is where you come in. Find your legislator’s page and check out their environmental score and whether or not they have an Oil Money Badge. We encourage you to call the phone number listed on their page. Let them know what you think of their environmental score and why it matters to you that your legislator always votes for climate justice. These phone calls are recorded by staff and passed along to the legislator. Don’t underestimate your power as an individual. When the people of California make their voices heard by calling, writing and expressing their values and positions to elected leaders, our policies better reflect our state’s priorities.

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About California League of Conservation Voters

CLCV protects California's natural legacy and the health of all Californians by working to elect environmental champions and pass strong environmental laws.

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