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Oil drilling near homes by haymarketrebel

AB 345 will fight CA oil industry’s environmental racism

by Jane Fonda and Don Martin, The Sacramento Bee


Highlights

  • Politicians that allow pollution in our state’s most vulnerable neighborhoods, which are disproportionately communities of color, are signaling that this environmental racism is not a concern and that people of color are “disposable”
  • Over 215,000 people in Los Angeles live within 2,500 feet of an active oil and gas well
  • Exposure to gases and chemicals from the fossil fuel industry are causing massive health issues, such as asthma and cancer
  • A Stanford study found that pregnant women living near oil and gas wells in California face a high risk of preterm birth, with Black and Latinx women facing the highest risks
  • People exposed to large amounts of pollution are more likely to have severe and lethal effects of COVID-19
  • AB 345 will establish a state law that requires oil and gas drilling sites to be 2,500 feet away from homes, schools, and hospitals
  • However, the LA County Department of Regional Planning recently released plans for a 500-foot buffer zone from new drilling sites which is not an adequate distance 
  • Passing AB 345 will let Californians know that our elected representatives care about communities of color and are working toward ending environmental racism 

Take action to support AB 345. Increased air pollution from fossil fuel emissions makes all of us more vulnerable to the current COVID-19 pandemic. For a safe and healthy future for all, endorse the Climate-Safe California Platform to implement scalable solutions that can reverse the climate crisis.


Read More: https://www.sacbee.com/opinion/california-forum/article244232417.html

‘We essentially cook ourselves’ if we don’t fix air conditioning, major UN report warns

by Dharna Noor, Gizmodo


Highlights

  • A new report from the United Nations shows that 460 billion tons of greenhouse gas emissions could be avoided worldwide by switching to energy-efficient, climate-safe air conditioning
  • There are 3.6 billion cooling appliances, including refrigerators, freezers, and air conditioning units in use around the globe
  • Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), chemicals that were once used in air conditioning units, among other products, were banned after the Montreal Protocol. However, their replacement, hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) are also negatively impacting the climate as they are 11,700 times more warming than carbon dioxide
    • In 2019 governments adopted the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol in order to phase out HFCs
    • Doing so could avoid as much as 0.7 degrees Fahrenheit of warming if adopted globally
    • However, major emitters such as the US and India are two of the 90 countries that have not signed on
  • Doubling the energy efficiency of air conditioners could save up to $2.9 trillion by 2050
  • Promoting the construction of energy-efficient housing with alternative cooling options like green roofs will reduce the world’s need for air conditioning

Fossil fuel divestment and the transition to 100% clean energy is critical to achieving The Climate Center’s goals under the Climate-Safe California Platform.


Read More: https://earther.gizmodo.com/we-essentially-cook-ourselves-if-we-don-t-fix-air-con-1844416667

A jobs program to plug abandoned oil wells sounds like a win-win. Is it?

by Emily Pontecorvo, Grist


Highlights

  • Abandoned oil wells across the country are leaking methane, a greenhouse gas that has 86 times the heat-trapping power of carbon dioxide
  • The impending collapse of the oil industry around the world will only make matters worse, as more oil wells will be abandoned and the gas leaks will continue
  • A new report from Resources for the Future and Columbia University suggests creating a federally funded jobs program that would plug the holes left by oil wells by employing oil and gas workers
  • Similar propositions have been made: one in an infrastructure bill passed by the US House of Representatives and a nearly $2 billion program in Canada
  • There are 56,600 known unplugged “orphaned” wells within the country, however, there may be hundreds of thousands of unknown wells that were created before regulations were in place
  • The cost of plugging the wells range from $4,000 to over $100,000 per well with a total program cost of  $1.4 billion to $2.7 billion and could support about 13,500 jobs for one year
  • However, these costs are only estimates and the true cost of plugging could be more
  • As demand for labor and equipment increases, costs could increase or they could decrease as crews learn to plug wells more efficiently. Carbon Tracker found that the cost of plugging a newer shale well, which is typically thousands of feet deeper than older wells, could be anywhere from $300,000 to more than $1 million.
  • Once taxpayers start spending billions to plug wells, the oil industry will have successfully avoided many of their own costs and successfully left them on the backs of taxpayers
  • Any federal effort to plug abandoned wells should likely focus on older, truly orphaned wells to avoid a perverse incentive for the industry to create more wells, and they should require states to ensure future plugging costs are fully covered by the industry.

Increased air pollution from fossil fuel emissions makes all of us more vulnerable to the current COVID-19 pandemic. For a safe and healthy future for all, endorse the Climate-Safe California Platform to implement scalable solutions that can reverse the climate crisis.


Read More: https://grist.org/energy/a-jobs-program-to-plug-abandoned-oil-wells-sounds-like-a-win-win-is-it/

SoCalGas trying to prevent regulators from learning more about its anti-climate political tactics

by Emily Atkin, Heated


Highlights

  • SoCalGas recently failed to stop building electrification efforts in the coastal city of San Luis Obispo by creating a group to advocate against it, threatening to hold a non-COVID 19 compliant rally if the law passes, and are suspected to have pushed a story saying building electrification was racially discriminatory
  • Over 120 city and county governments have been persuaded by SoCalGas to adopt “balanced energy solutions,” which discourage all-electric efforts in favor of natural gas
  • The Public Advocates Office of the California Public Utilities Commission company may be using customer money to fund their anti-electrification advocacy
  • SoCalGas refuses to comply with a watchdog subpoena and spent months fighting the regulator’s investigation
  • The company has also misused ratepayer money for anti-climate political activities by spending $28 million for “balanced energy” programs that were categorized as operations and maintenance, a category funded by ratepayers
  • A 2019 report from Brown University investigated ten large investor-owned utilities and found they were “historically central to the climate change countermovement,” meaning they often worked towards undermining climate action based on science for the past few decades

Fossil fuel divestment and the transition to 100% clean energy is critical to achieving The Climate Center’s goals under the Climate-Safe California Platform.


Read More: https://heated.world/p/some-real-shady-behavior

SoCal Gas Reaches $8.5 Million Settlement Over Aliso Canyon Gas Leak

SoCalGas ramps up use of Aliso Canyon, site of worst gas leak in U.S. history

by Sammy Roth, The Los Angeles Times


Highlights

One of Governor Gavin Newsom’s campaign promises was to wind down the usage of the Aliso Canyon gas storage field, located just outside Los Angeles. New reports show that the facility usage has increased during his governorship

  • Publicly available information analyzed by Food and Water Watch shows that SoCalGas, the owners of the facility, withdrew 20 billion cubic feet of gas from the site this winter
  • Aliso Canyon had the largest methane leak in U.S. history during 2015. Other pollutants in the leak include benzene and mercaptan, known to cause cancers.
  • Many environmental groups and residents near the field are calling for its closure due to the health impacts that many community members experience, including nausea, nose bleeds, and headaches
    • These complaints were large during the gas leak, but residents are feeling these events even as late as May 2020
  • Since the major gas leak, gas company officials say they have made many safety improvements including assessing oil wells every two years
  • The California Public Utilities Commission relaxed restrictions placed on the site due to concerns of high energy prices and supply shortages
  • Many believe SoCalGas still uses Aliso Canyon because the facility was worth $769 million at the end of 2019, and as long as it remains in use, SoCalGas customers will be on the hook to pay off the company’s investment, plus shareholder profits
  • Though clean energy advocates want to see the end of natural gas use within the state, SoCalGas wants to use more gas captured from dairy farms

Increased air pollution from fires and fossil fuel emissions makes all of us more vulnerable to the current COVID-19 pandemic. For a safe and healthy future for all, endorse the Climate-Safe California Platform to implement scalable solutions that can reverse the climate crisis.


Read more: https://www.latimes.com/environment/story/2020-06-09/socalgas-ramps-up-use-of-aliso-canyon-site-of-worst-gas-leak

Methane levels reach an all-time high

By Jeremy Deaton, Nexus Media


Highlights

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) found that the greenhouse gas methane has reached all-time high levels in the atmosphere, threatening Paris Agreement climate goals.

  • Methane is about 80 times more potent than CO2 and has been increasing its presence in the atmosphere for the last 20 years
  •  In 2019, the concentration of atmospheric methane reached nearly 1875 parts per billion, the highest level since record-keeping began in 1983
  • The primary source of methane are wetlands where microbes excrete the gas 
  • One human-caused source of pollution is large livestock farms where sheep and cows burp out methane
  • For the short-term, leaking oil wells can be plugged
  • Oil and gas firms could cut down methane emissions by nearly half if they invested in equipment that captures the leaking gas, but these firms would rather invest in new oil drilling sites in order to make more profits

The transition to 100% clean energy and electrification are a key to achieving the goals of The Climate Center’s Climate-Safe California Platform.


Read more: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/methane-levels-reach-an-all-time-high/

Environmental groups sue EPA over ‘reckless’ response to coronavirus


Highlights

The National Resources Defence Council (NRDC) is suing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on behalf of a dozen environmental groups.

  • Environmental groups across the country petitioned the EPA to publish an emergency rule that requires polluters to submit a public notice that they are taking advantage of newly relaxed emissions and pollutions standards
    • This petition comes days after the EPA relaxed pollution standards at the request of an oil industry trade group claiming it was necessary to loosen regulations in response to the COVID-19 pandemic
  • These relaxed pollution standards will affect drinking water and air quality which directly impacts public health, especially in fence-line communities that border refineries and factories
    • Even with previous environmental regulations, these communities are still greatly impacted by emissions
    • A study focused on health hazards in vulnerable communities found that nearly 12,500 high-risk chemical facilities across the country place 39% of the U.S. population (124 million people) in constant risk of a chemical disaster, disproportionately affecting communities of color 
  • Juan Parras, founder and executive director of Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services (t.e.j.a.s.), says relaxing these regulations is a direct violation of the EPA’s main objective:

“The EPA, in allowing this to happen, is basically going against its very core value, which is to protect health and human safety [against] industrial pollution,” 


Fossil fuel divestment and the transition to 100% clean electricity is critical to achieving The Climate Center’s goals under the Climate-Safe California Platform.


Read more: https://grist.org/justice/environmental-groups-sue-epa-over-reckless-response-to-coronavirus

Fracking rig operates next to a walking and bike way for residents of Signal Hill drilling into the Los Angeles Oil Field. Photo by Sarah Craig.

Gov. Newsom leads on public health, except when it comes to the oil industry

By Rosanna Esparza and Ashley Hernandez, The Sacramento Bee


ACTION ALERT: Send Governor Newsom a message now to reverse his decision and halt fracking.

Highlights

California Governor Gavin Newsom approved 24 new fracking permits for the state in the midst of shelter-at-home mandates as the COVID-19 pandemic rages on.

  • Though Newsom is doing great at keeping Californians safe during this pandemic, his leadership and aggressive policies should apply to regulating and shutting down the oil industry as well
  • Pollution from oil wells is prevalent in places such as Kern County and South Los Angeles, leading these areas to have higher rates of respiratory issues
  • The oil industry has successfully lobbied the federal government in efforts to suspend environmental regulations regarding pollution due to the coronavirus. Now the California Independent Oil Producers Association has sent letters to the Governor asking him to halt plans to hire new positions at California’s oil regulating body intended to focus on enforcement
  • Governor Newsom should prioritize public health in our most vulnerable communities and not the needs of the fossil fuel industry

Increased air pollution from fires and fossil fuel emissions makes all of us more vulnerable to the current COVID-19 pandemic. With community energy resilience we can ensure that our power is clean and not further contributing to emissions in our communities. For a safe and healthy future for all, endorse the Climate-Safe California Platform to implement scalable solutions that can reverse the climate crisis.


Read more: https://www.sacbee.com/opinion/california-forum/article242059966.html

Trump rolls back Obama fuel economy rule, increasing emissions during a climate crisis

by Sean O’Kane, The Verge 


Highlights

President Trump has reversed an Obama-era policy that made new cars more fuel-efficient and environmentally friendly, but faces lawsuits and pushback from various environmental groups and the State of California

  • Under the new rule, automakers will now have to increase the average fuel economy of their new cars by 1.5 percent every year through their 2026 model year lineup compared to the previous by 5 percent from Obama’s presidency
  • Using data from the Environmental Protection Agency, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) reports that the previous Obama-era standard has already helped cut carbon dioxide emissions by half a billion metric tons, and saved drivers $86 billion in fuel costs
  • The new standard is expected to release one billion metric tons more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, increase gasoline consumption by around 80 billion gallons, and oil consumption by 2 billion barrels
  • The Trump administration argues that lowering the fuel economy standard will make cars more affordable by reducing the upfront cost of a new vehicle by around $1,000, leading car buyers to buy newer, safer cars
    • However, average new vehicle prices have risen in the US because automakers now heavily favor selling more expensive SUVs and trucks
    • Some experts disagree that these new fuel standards will save consumers money. New analysis shows that even if gas prices were cheap for the next three decades, the cost of ownership for the car is still high
  • The State of California has been against the new fuel standards and has made deals with Volkswagen, Ford, Honda, and BMW to commit to 3.7 percent year-over-year increases in average fuel economy while General Motors, Toyota, and Fiat Chrysler filed support for the Trump administration to revoke California’s authority to set its own vehicle emissions standards

The Climate Center’s Climate-Safe California campaign includes supporting clean mobility, including a phase-out of all gas-powered vehicles.


Read more: https://www.theverge.com/2020/3/31/21201036/trump-epa-obama-fuel-economy-rule-rollback-emissions-consumer-cost?

Air pollution linked to far higher Covid-19 death rates, Harvard study finds

by Damian Carrington, The Guardian


Highlights

New research from the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health suggests that air pollution is linked to higher death rates for people that have contracted COVID-19 compared to those living in areas with cleaner air.

  • Living in a polluted city in the past has an effect on death rates for COVID- 19: Exposure to small particulate matter 15 to 20 years before the pandemic has had an effect on current coronovirus death rates
  • Abnormally high death rates due to COVID-19  in Northern Italy are likely due to the large amount of air pollution in that region
  • Previous studies on the SARS outbreak, which was another coronavirus, also suggest that air pollution increased the risk of death when infected
  • The study highlights the importance of enforcing air pollution regulations knowing that it has an effect on survival rates and that areas with high pollution must take extra precautions to avoid a higher death toll c
  • Despite this evidence, the US EPA under the Trump Administration just suspended enforcement of environmental laws

In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, we must re-examine the ways in which we move around. The Climate Center is committed to working with state and local lawmakers to put us on track for a Climate-Safe California, which will include clean energy and clean mobility.


Read More: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/apr/07/air-pollution-linked-to-far-higher-covid-19-death-rates-study-finds