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  Chevron Pretty Much Plays With a Full Court Press
January 31, 2013

Chevron pretty much plays with a full court press.

  • Property taxes -- appeal them. If that doesn’t work, file a lawsuit challenging the appellate decisions
  • OSHA fines -- appeal them.
  • CARB Low Carbon Fuel Standards – have the lobbyists challenge them.
  • More friendly politicians – buy them.

It just disgusts me. Read the SF Chronicle story from January 27 at the end of this email. “Within the lifetimes of today's children, scientists say, the climate could reach a state unknown in civilization.”
What is Chevron trying to do about it? Sell more gas. Pay less taxes. Accelerate global warming. Buy more elections.
Tom Butt
Chevron and its allies take aim at California's Low Carbon Fuel Standard
By Dana Hull dhull@mercurynews.com
Posted:   01/31/2013 03:20:19 PM PST
Updated:   01/31/2013 03:38:29 PM PST

San Ramon-based Chevron is leading an aggressive campaign to delay implementation of California's Low Carbon Fuel Standard, a cornerstone of the state's efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The fuel standard requires the oil industry to gradually reduce the "carbon intensity" of transportation fuels like diesel and gasoline by at least 10 percent by 2020. Chevron and its allies, including the Western States Petroleum Association, are trying to undermine the standard by rallying opposition, financing critical studies and lobbying the Democratic-controlled Legislature, state agencies and Gov. Jerry Brown.
The political pushback comes as compliance regulations ratchet up and climate change has re-emerged as a top priority for both Brown and President Barack Obama. California's attempts to rein in greenhouse gases are widely seen as a possible playbook for regulatory action at the regional or national level.
Chevron and the Western States Petroleum Association argue that the 2020 timeline can't be met without severe economic impacts, including a huge spike in gasoline prices.
"California's Low Carbon Fuel Standard establishes an unworkable program that will not meet its goals," Chevron spokesman Brent Tippen said in an interview. "The Air Resources Board should undertake an immediate and accelerated review of the program and make fundamental changes to its design and the timing of its implementation."
Critics of the fuel standard stress that alternative, low-carbon biofuels, particularly cellulosic ethanol made from materials like wood or grasses, are not being produced in high enough volumes to significantly offset the use of traditional fuels.
"Cellulosic ethanol was supposed to be the silver bullet," said Catherine Reheis-Boyd, president of the petroleum association. "Everyone thought we'd have large volumes at commercial scales, and that has not happened and will not happen in this time frame. It's time for all of us to revisit this."
But clean air advocates, environmentalists, utilities and the auto industry remain strong supporters of the fuel standard, and say it's time for the oil industry to step up and do its part. They note that utilities such as PG&E are well on their way to meeting a state mandate to purchase 33 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2020, while automakers have invested billions to meet tough new fuel efficiency requirements and produce electric cars.
"The oil industry is not doing its fair share," said Simon Mui, a scientist with the Natural Resources Defense Council. "They can invest in cleaner fuels, but instead they are fighting this policy tooth and nail."
The Low Carbon Fuel Standard was enacted in 2007 as part of AB32, the landmark global warming bill championed by then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. It's now being challenged not only by the oil industry but also several corn-based ethanol producers from the Midwest, who argued in federal court that California's regulations violate the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution and are shutting them out of the market because of the way various fuels are rated. That lawsuit is currently under review by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals; a decision could come any day.
Under the standard, fuels -- from gasoline to ethanol made from corn, sugar or cellulosic materials -- are given carbon intensity "scores" by state regulators. Carbon intensity is measured by the entire life cycle of the fuel -- from the well to the wheel -- taking into account greenhouse gas emissions from extracting and refining to transporting the fuels to local gas stations.
The main aim of the fuel standard is to push the oil industry to invest in new technology and cleaner fuels like electricity, biofuels, hydrogen and natural gas. Some critics, including Assemblyman Mike Gatto, D-Los Angeles, warn that the fuel standard could negatively impact food prices and land use as more farmland is used to grow crops for ethanol.
However, Dan Sperling, a founding director of the Institute of Transportation Studies at UC Davis who serves on the Air Resources Board, says transportation accounts for 40 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in California and therefore must be addressed.
"If we are going to have a reduction in greenhouse gases from transportation, something has to be done with the fuels," he said.
Last year, the petroleum association hired the Boston Consulting Group to conduct a study of the new standard that concluded it and other clean fuel regulations could force the closure of up to half of California's 14 refineries, throw thousands out of work and cause a spike in gas prices -- strong arguments in a state with 9.8 percent unemployment.
"The BCG study predicts that gasoline prices could increase by up to $2.50 per gallon, bringing California's per-gallon price into the $6 range," said Bill Day, a spokesman for Valero, which has a refinery in Benicia. "That's about the last thing that the state's still-weak economy needs."
Others dismissed the analysis as industry-funded and flawed.
"The analysis cherry-picks its assumptions to build a one-sided case showing a dismal economic future for oil refiners," said Susan Frank of the California Business Alliance for a Green Economy.
Chevron is marshaling its attack, in part, through Fueling California, a nonprofit organization it founded in 2008, shortly after the new standard was adopted. The group represents corporate fuel consumers such as Wal-Mart and UPS, and says it provides a "new and united voice on behalf of major fuel consumers." Fueling California is a 501(c) 4 organization, which means it can lobby state agencies and legislators but is not required to disclose its donors. A spokeswoman confirmed that "the majority of our funding comes from Chevron."
Lobbying records with the Secretary of State's Office show that Fueling California spent $282,620 in the 2011-12 legislative session lobbying the governor's office, lawmakers, the air board and other state agencies, largely on the Low Carbon Fuel Standard.
Last week, Fueling California held an invitation-only "technical workshop" for roughly 50 people at a hotel in Burbank. The daylong event, which was closed to the media, was attended by representatives from oil companies and the natural gas and biofuels industry. Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla, D-Concord, who has four refineries in her East Bay district, gave closing remarks.
"It was a very technical discussion, and people disagreed with each other," Bonilla said. "The consensus forming is that there are problems with the implementation timeline."
Contact Dana Hull at 408-920-2706. Follow her at Twitter.com/danahull.
Major climate changes looming
Carolyn Lochhead
Updated 11:10 pm, Sunday, January 27, 2013

  • Greenhouse gases rise from a coal-burning plant in Gelsenkirchen, Germany, contributing to warming. Photo: Martin Meissner, Associated Press

Greenhouse gases rise from a coal-burning plant in Gelsenkirchen, Germany, contributing to warming. Photo: Martin Meissner, Associated Press
 Washington -- In his inaugural address last Monday, President Obama made climate change a priority of his second term. It might be too late.
Within the lifetimes of today's children, scientists say, the climate could reach a state unknown in civilization.
In that time, global carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels are on track to exceed the limits that scientists believe could prevent catastrophic warming. CO{-2} levels are higher than they have been in 15 million years.
The Arctic, melting rapidly and probably irreversibly, has reached a state that the Vikings would not recognize.
"We are poised right at the edge of some very major changes on Earth," said Anthony Barnosky, a UC Berkeley professor of biology who studies the interaction of climate change with population growth and land use. "We really are a geological force that's changing the planet."
Wholesale shift needed
The Arctic melt is occurring as the planet is just 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit (0.8 degree Celsius) warmer than it was in preindustrial times.
At current trends, the Earth could warm by 4 degrees Celsius in 50 years, according to a November World Bank report.
The coolest summer months would be much warmer than today's hottest summer months, the report said. "The last time Earth was 4 degrees warmer than it is now was about 14 million years ago," Barnosky said.
Experts said it is technically feasible to halt such changes by nearly ending the use of fossil fuels. It would require a wholesale shift to renewable fuels that the United States, let alone China and other developing countries, appears unlikely to make, given that many Americans do not believe humans are changing the climate.
"Science is not opinion, it's not what we want it to be," said Katharine Hayhoe, an evangelical Christian and climatologist at Texas Tech University who was lead author of a draft report on U.S. climate change issued this month by the National Climate Assessment and Development Advisory Committee, which was created by the federal government.
"You can't make a thermometer tell you it's hotter than it is," said Hayhoe, who with her husband, a linguist and West Texas pastor, has written a book on climate change addressed to evangelicals.
"And it's not just about thermometers or satellite instruments," she said. "It's about looking in our own backyards, when the trees are flowering now compared to 30 years ago, what types of birds and butterflies and bugs that ... used to be further south."
Robins are arriving two weeks early in Colorado. Frogs are calling sooner in Ithaca, N.Y. The Sierra Nevada snowpack is melting earlier. Cold snaps, like the one gripping the East, still happen, but less often. The frost-free season has lengthened 21 days in California, nine days in Texas and 10 in Connecticut, according to the draft climate report.
Extreme weather
Scientists are loath to pin a specific event, such as Hurricane Sandy, to global warming.
But "the risk of certain extreme events, such as the 2003 European heat wave, the 2010 Russian heat wave and fires, and the 2011 Texas heat wave and drought has ... doubled or more," said Michael Wehner, a staff scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and co-author of the climate report. "Some of the changes that have occurred are permanent on human time scales."
Last year, the continental United States was the hottest it has ever been in the 118 years that records have been kept. Globally, each of the first 12 years of the 21st century were among the 14 warmest ever.
Connecticut was 7.2 degrees Fahrenheit (4 degrees Celsius) warmer than the 20th century average. At current rates of CO{-2} emissions, scientists expect New England to have summers resembling the Deep South within decades.
The pine bark beetle, held in check by winter freezes, is epidemic over millions of acres of forests from California to South Dakota.

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/science/article/Major-climate-changes-looming-4227943.php#ixzz2Jc1iFOEt