California earns D on environmental report

California+received+a+D+on+their+Environmental+Score+this+year+in+part+because+the+Golden+State+has+many+laws+and+initiatives+to+preserve+and+improve+the+environment%2C+but+has+not+followed+through+on+most+of+them.

Joseph Zuloaga '23

California received a D on their Environmental Score this year in part because the Golden State has many laws and initiatives to preserve and improve the environment, but has not followed through on most of them.

By Ava Bowles ’25

The California Environmental Report Card is a report published annually that grades the action taken by California’s State Legislature and Governor in regards to the environment. 

The report is conducted by the nonprofit California Environmental Voters and was started in 1973. The organization’s goal is to instigate global action to solve the climate crisis by focusing nationally on holding states accountable and forcing change in the United States’ political system so climate justice is possible. 

The Environmental Score looks at the California Legislature and Governor to determine how well California created and followed environmental and climate laws in 2021. In the most recent report, Cailifornia received a D grade (67 percent) from California Environmental Voters. 

This was the first time California Environmental Voters gave California a D grade, shocking the nation. This poor grade clearly states that California is far behind where they should be on climate action. 

Voters scored California so low because of the lack of urgency and action taken in 2021 towards the climate crisis. Another factor that contributed to the low score was the inaction in the Senate on passing change-making climate policies. 

Saving the planet by protecting the environment starts small, with the individual, and then builds out to schools, corporations, cities, and states. 

Admissions Assistant Sally O’Connell said, “Riordan can do a better job with their environmental agenda. I think we should have a green team at Riordan that takes on the responsibility of enforcing climate action. I believe we need to do a better job at things like composting, recycling, and reducing waste here at school.”

Recently, California has not been able to pass climate policies regarding issues such as advancing air quality, using renewable energy to replace fossil fuels, and improving climate justice which contributed to the negative report California received. 

According to envirovoters.org, “California has failed in recent years to muster up the political will to pass meaningful climate policy through the Legislature…”

The result of this report is important because it exposed that California is not on track to meeting its climate goals since the state didn’t take enough action in 2021. 

Furthermore, it indicates that California has the resources to make a difference in solving the climate crisis, but its leaders have not made bold enough steps to support climate action which has resulted in California receiving its first ever D grade for 2021. 

Catherine Hansen ’25 stated, “I didn’t have much knowledge on the California Environmental Report Card previously, which goes to show that California isn’t taking action at the rate and scale they need to.”

He added, “I find this news shocking and extremely disappointing because I’ve grown up taking pride in the fact that California is a leader in climate action but clearly there is still much to be done.”