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California has been trying to make small steps toward reducing its carbon footprint amidst the chaos brought by COVID-19. As a result of these steps, legislation has recently been introduced to ban fracking by the year 2027. If passed, this will greatly impact climate change and the environment in California. But while this legislation may seem to carry promise, it is unlikely that much will be accomplished due to the current state of the pandemic. Nevertheless, citizens should still remain optimistic and encourage lawmakers to prioritize banning fracking once we enter the post-pandemic period.

For the time being, California is severely divided. Since banning fracking would involve a lot of financial changes, it is very unlikely that with all of the turmoil of the pandemic, lawmakers will see eye-to-eye on key issues such as this one. And though Governor Newsom’s heart may be in the right place when it comes to progressive policies, he does not possess the momentum to deal with major policy unrelated to COVID-19 relief and recovery. Despite all of this, the public should not lose hope. Banning fracking is still achievable, and while timing is not the best, this does not mean we should ignore this opportunity altogether. 

It should be safe to assume that this measure may not get passed by 2027. As of right now, COVID-19 is the main priority, and as a result, this fracking bill will face a lot of opposition if proposed too soon. Nonetheless, this legislation is a great step, but it must endure further edits before anything is set in stone. Regardless, this piece of legislation may be the perfect talking point for people to finally get serious about climate change. 

One of the main ー and most obvious ー opponents to this proposal would be those who deny the mere existence of climate change. The likelihood of many changing minds is abysmally low, and a lot of people are highly opinionated regarding this issue. And if this turbulent political climate has taught anything, it’s that a mind is hard to change when it has already been made up. Before any change occurs, people must realize that climate change is not a hoax and that this legislation will only be taken seriously if the dangers of global warming are taken seriously as well. 

Outside of the argument that global warming is a conspiracy, people may also be hesitant to support something that puts their jobs at risk. But while this argument seems reasonable on the surface, there are still solutions to help these people who worry over their finances. If the state is proactive in reassuring these people that their jobs and financial security are not at risk, then support for this proposal may increase come the post-pandemic period. 

However, these solutions must be introduced early on in order to garner enough enthusiasm for when the time is right. Pro-fracking individuals will not shake their opinions unless the government is responsible for providing job relief and a concrete plan for how we will shift to cleaner energy sources.

First and foremost, state and federal governments must commit to a greener agenda and stick to it. It is one thing to propose a piece of legislation, but we need to invest and make substantial changes towards renewable energy projects. With this comes retraining previously oil and gas workers to operate in new sectors. So if there is something put in place that these people can move toward, then there’d be less job insecurity. While there may be higher educational barriers, the government has the responsibility to provide adequate relief to the workers of the oil and gas industry if banning fracking is ever going to happen.

Another way governments can prepare for a shift toward cleaner energy is to make electric cars more accessible. Newsom signed an order to ban gas cars by 2035, but electric cars often come with large price tags which discourages the general public from making the change. But if necessities such as electric cars were made more affordable, this may push people to start shifting toward more environmental modes of transportation. Consequently, this will also cause the oil and gas industry to become more obsolete.

Not only is the accessibility of electric vehicles important in passing this legislation, but there are other alternatives to fracking that are less harmful to the environment that are worth a try. Places such as Sweden use ground source heat pumps so that houses can be warmed, and solar energy is also being utilized in California for newer homes. Even better, windmill farms are also important forms of clean energy that can also take up space where fracking used to occur so as to not leave vacant lots everywhere.

There are so many safer alternatives for the environment than fracking and it’s time Californians start noticing so that climate change can slowly be resolved. Finding greener energy alternatives must be the greatest priority for California since it is one of the states hit hardest by climate change. If we wait too long to take any step toward mitigating global warming, we may never have a chance to recover. California must prioritize the end of fracking as soon as we enter the post-COVID-19 period so that we can heal not only from the pandemic, but also from the effects of global warming.


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    The Highlander editorials reflect the majority view of the Highlander Editorial Board. They do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Associated Students of UCR or the University of California system.