Update January 30th 2013:
Following the explosion and fire of August 6th 2012, at the Richmond refinery, hundreds of people were rushed at the emergency room, with respiratory problems. Today, Chevron was fine $1 million, justified by the fact that : “Our investigators found willful violations in Chevron’s response before, during and after the fire,” said Ellen Widess, head of the state agency that enforces workplace safety, Cal/OSHA. Many believe this amount is insufficient, compare to the damage to the community and environment. However it’s the highest fine permitted by California State law for this industry.
In November 23rd, 2003 San Jose Mercury News , will make public the report issued by the California State Air Resource Board, listing the “Largest Source of Global Warming Emission in California”.
From San Francisco, Global Reportage wanted to be a part of blogactionday, 2009 by shedding a light on the struggles of our region to fight global warming. On a grand scale, it also explains how the biggest polluters aren’t rushing to take action.
Seemingly schizophrenic the San Francisco Bay is hosting both offenders and crusaders of the environment. In a way, its geography makes it extremely vulnerable to rising sea levels. According to studies, many cities “near the San Francisco Bay shoreline would be under water if global warming causes tides to rise as much as 3 feet in the coming decades.” Read more.
Working to combat such a fate, the Bay is fostering a concentration of effective green projects, as dedicated individuals pursue Earth-healing initiatives. In a way, the Bay can be seen as a green bubble combining outside-of-the-box creativity, large-scale philanthropy, and genuine hopes of reversing the devastating effects of persistent environmental abuse.
Among these pioneers of preservation, there are giants like Google, (Intel founder) Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Apple Computer Inc..
There are counties like Mendocino, with MELC and Marin, and communities likeMenlo Park and Berkeley, to name a few.
In 2005, environmental authorities in the Bay applied the nation’s first regulation on refinery flares. In 2008, the area’s pollution regulators were the first in the nation to collect fees from businesses releasing green house gases into our atmosphere. So far, they raked in just enough to study future solutions, yet not enough to build a cleaner system. Today, they seek to increase the fees assessed to the biggest polluters, with the expectation of cutting greenhouse gases 20 percent by 2020, when the world needs 40 percent.
Meanwhile, Chevron of the Bay emits more than 4.3 million metric tons of carbon dioxide for a $200 000 annual fee- a drop in the bucket. Nonetheless, Dennis Bolt, speaking for most of the Bay Area’s largest oil refineries, feels sorry for the industry: “If every district, county, city in the nation does this … when you roll that up, it’s pretty punitive,” and not taking action against this pollution is pretty destructive, Mr. Bolt.
In reality, today’s actions in the field are mostly due to grassroots efforts triggered by a sense of urgency while at the top, the trend is to downplay, even denying the need for more drastic and effective measures. Over global warming issues, Apple Computer Inc. just resigned from the powerful US Chamber Of Commerce, the nation’s premier business lobby. “We would prefer that the Chamber take a more progressive stance on this critical issue and play a constructive role in addressing the climate crisis,” wrote Catherine Novelli, Apple Vice President for Worldwide Government Affairs. The computer company was the fourth to opt out following the path of three major utility corporation. While Nike left the CoC board, still remaining a member.
Tom Donohue, President and CEO of the CoC, feeling the heat more than foreseeing the effect of global warming, reacted by releasing a statement which claimed that “the group supported climate legislation that would not hurt the economy and required international participation.” Clearly, economy first, environment can wait. Which proves that their time table is not in sync with the experts fighting climate change worldwide.
Six of them, including Dr. Mario Molina, 1995 Nobel prize winner for chemistry, co-wrote a bombshell article published yesterday by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS)..
These top scientists came up with the idea that reducing non-CO2 climate change agents such as: black carbon soot, tropospheric ozone, and hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs (a man-made greenhouse gas, used in refrigeration and insulating foam), can have an immediate impact in slowing down global warming. “By targeting these short-term climate forces, we can make a down payment on climate and provide momentum going into the December negotiations in Copenhagen,” said co-author Durwood Zaelke, President of the Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development. “The Obama Administration and other key governments need to take up the fast-action climate agenda before it is too late.”
Published by globalreportage© October 2009
News updates 2012: