Sunday, September 13, 2015

Heat over California

Hot few days until recently in this part of California, maybe a good match for what's happening on climate issues in the state.

Two steps forward, one step not taken:  SB 350 passed both houses (and will get signed by the Governor), minus one of its star attractions, a proposed 50% cut in petroleum use by 2030. On the one hand, it's disappointing that even in a state this blue, the oil industry could throw enough clout and lies around to win. No, you don't need gas rationing - just increasing mileage standards could do most of the work, with EVs, PHEVs, and alternatives to cars doing the rest. Still they came close to getting the provision, they can try again next year, and the other two provisions mandating 50% increase in building efficiency and 50% renewable power by 2030 are moving forward. I'm happier about this outcome than many other enviros

One step not taken:  SB 32 which would've update the main California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (then numbered AB 32), didn't have the votes to pass and is being delayed to next year. California's main environmental procedure law requiring environmental analysis on projects that could have significant impacts (CEQA), has been under attack for years. SB 32 would require 80% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, and CEQA opponents are claiming that near term projects would be tied up in knots under CEQA because they couldn't show how they would lead to an 80% GHG reduction. This is of course nonsense - California has regional planning. If a region develops an adequate regional plan that complies with SB 32 goals, then development not in violation of the plan will not have CEQA problems. I think CEQA opponents know this, but are really just doing some hostage taking. We'll see how it plays out next year.

A great step forward:  AB 185 passed, and hopefully will get Governor's signature, requiring divestment of state pension funds from coal stocks. First state in the country to do this, and it won't be the last, with other states having bills pending. Many kudos to RL Miller for working on this through the California Democratic Party.

Also the massive University of California system has sold its coal and oil sand stocks. While not an official divestment policy, I think the writing is clear enough. Hopefully it's an expansion of the divestment effort whereby if an institution divests short of all fossil fuels, it doesn't just stop with coal but with oil sands as well.

Finally, the California Academy of Sciences will not accept fossil-fuel funding, another step in delegitimizing the fossil fuel politics. To state the obvious, it's the politics and the current level of overuse of fossil fuels that's the problem, not the use of any fossil fuels at all. These steps help correct the real problem.



11 comments:

Unknown said...

Question: has the University of California also divested their stocks in companies that produce heavy oil in California? Because that requires steam injection too and has a pretty similar carbon footprint to producing bitumen from the oil sands.

Miguelito

Fernando Leanme said...

The use of natural gas to generate steam is guided by the ratio of natural gas price to oil price, this means the emissions are variable. I retired from an oil multinational a few years ago, and for a while I had to supervise a large technical department. One of our duties was to work together with our environmental protection department estimating CO2 emissions per unit of oil delivered to sales. The emissions ratio depends on a lot more than oil density. We had light oil reservoirs which required more emissions. We also found some production units would subtly cheat their statistics to look good. In conclusion, a simple minded "heavy oil is bad" policy is a bit stupid. The best method is to have the oil seller generate an audit able report showing the emissions associated with the oil batch they want to sell.

Barton Paul Levenson said...

FL: I retired from an oil multinational a few years ago

BPL: That explains a lot.

Gingerbaker said...

You know, we don't need to regulate fossil fuels to make them used less. We could simply make them irrelevant by pricing green electricity according to its own fuel cost.

Fernando Leanme said...

I though you would have realized by now that my critique of rcp8.5 is based on information and expertise a climatologist couldn't develop in 20 plus years, never mind engage in an intelligent debate with me about oil and gas resources, and the weaknesses built into 97 % of the "Business as usual" based baloney studies I read (if it escaped you, we ain't got a way to produce as much as shown in that RCP).

I would also assume you do realize what "retired to a beach in Eastern Spain" means regarding my freedom to bitch at whatever. The only organization in this world I don't like to mess around with is the Israel lobby, I leave that to my friend Richard

http://www.richardsilverstein.com

Barton Paul Levenson said...

FL: I though you would have realized by now that my critique of rcp8.5 is based on information and expertise a climatologist couldn't develop in 20 plus years, never mind engage in an intelligent debate with me about oil and gas resources, and the weaknesses built into 97 % of the "Business as usual" based baloney studies I read

BPL: Yes, I get this a lot from engineers. Many of them think they know more than scientists. Thus you have engineers who defend Velikovsky, who say aliens built the pyramids, that climate change isn't happening, that the angels that appeared to Ezekiel were UFOs, etc., etc. Plenty of fine engineers out there, but sadly, a lot of them think that because they know a lot of math, they therefore know science. Which is pretty stupid.

8c7793aa-15b2-11e5-898a-67ca934bd1df said...

We don't need to regulate the use of fossil fuels because it is self regulated by the collapse of modern civilization. Or did you miss a huge refugee crisis in central continental Europe?

8c7793aa-15b2-11e5-898a-67ca934bd1df said...

I went to school at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. Ever heard of it? It goes by the name of the University of Madison nowadays. We used to do a lot of interesting things there. I must admit the decay was well under way well before Walker showed up to finish the job.

http://www.channel3000.com/madison-magazine/business-city-life/Former-UW-chancellor-offers-lament-for-Wisconsin/34421426

Go ahead, elect Scott Walker president. I double dog dare ya. Make my day.

Fernando Leanme said...

BPL, please don't tell me you think scientists are somehow superior to engineers? I happen to know more about the subject than any scientist. Period. The field is more of a synergistic effort which incorporates geoscience, engineering, and economics. My experience shows engineers have a better ability to integrate knowledge and dynamics. And if you want to stay in the ivory tower tossing spit balls so be it. It's a well known human weakness.

Barton Paul Levenson said...

FL: BPL, please don't tell me you think scientists are somehow superior to engineers?

BPL: No, but science is not engineering and engineering is not science.

FL: I happen to know more about the subject than any scientist. Period.

BPL: Really? And you figured that out without interviewing all the scientists in the world, or even a representative sample. Your powers of insight are almost supernatural.

WHT said...

" I happen to know more about the subject than any scientist. Period. "

whut we know is that Nando shows the same attitude at the Peak Oil Barrel bblog.

@whut