South Bay 350 Advisory Board member, and former Hermosa Beach City Councilman, Jeff Duclos is currently in Johannesburg, South Africa at Al Gore’s Climate Reality Leadership Corps training.
We asked Jeff to file reports while he’s across the globe about his experiences and here’s the first of them received this morning:
Sitting in New York’s Kennedy Airport passing time reading National Geographic travel guide. “Alert travelers go with a purpose and leave with a benefit,” it says. The term it uses to describe this approach is “Geotourism,” tourism that sustains or enhances the geographical character of a place — its environment, culture, aesthetics, heritage, and well-being of its residents. I haven’t heard of this term before, but i embrace it completely and will never say the words “Eco Tourism” again.
About to embark on my first day of training. Arrived yesterday at around 8:00 AM, following 14 hours in flight, not counting a four hour flight to New York as a warm-up. I prepared myself as best i could for this journey: bought extra cushions, got a sports massage on the day of departure, drank lots and lots of water, and the like. I feel good today, so it seems to have helped fending off the effects of what is called “climatizing” from the changes in pressure and time zone and the attendant stresses on mind and body.
I attended the 15th Annual General Assembly of the South Bay Cities Council of Governments – the COG – in Carson today and that’s the paper placard that was on my table for the day’s program,
“Why Must We Care? – The Cost of the Changing Environment to the South Bay”
I was there with three of our Advisory Board members and none of us were happy about seeing great speakers like Jonathan Parfrey the Executive Director of Climate Resolve and Dr. Jonathan E. Fielding, the Director and County Health Officer, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health used for greenwashing cover by three of our local fossil fuel companies – Chevron, AES Redondo Beach and E&B Oil.
We can understand why these polluters and climate changers want to buy more influence with the COG and the many elected representatives and city staff members in attendance. But what we cannot understand is why the COG is willing to compromise its own values for five grand a pop.
While our friends from SoCal Climate Action Coalition 350 and their regional partners will be in Wilmington for the Great March for Climate Action on Saturday morning, we will be marching door-to-door in Hermosa Beach talking to our neighbors about stopping E&B Oil’s attempt to overturn the ban on oil drilling and drill over 30 wells in this small, 1.4 square mile small town. We support and encourage all who will be marching from Wilmington, but because climate change is personal, we will be fighting it door-to-door, neighbor-to-neighbor in Hermosa Beach. If you can join us, RSVP by clicking here or on the flyer.
Bill McKibben told us in 2012 in his Do the Math piece in Rolling Stone we had 16 years left before we used up our carbon budget and hit the 2 degrees Celsius rise in global temperatures scientists have warned us was the point of no return. Some reports give us till 2040 to reach our budget, some till 2030.
This chart from the Energy and Materials Research Group at Simon Fraser University gave us 13 years back in 2012. That would make it 11-12 years now.
No matter how you look at it we’re going to use up that budget fast. Faster than you ever dreamed of. Which is why right now, today, we have to start cutting fuel that emits greenhouse gas and switch to the renewable forms of energy we already have ready to go. We have the tools we need to stave off the worst impacts if we start acting now.
This budget and its sense of urgency is why the AES fossil fuel power in Redondo Beach must go and why no drilling for oil in Hermosa Beach can be allowed.
Carbon emissions are on course to set new records in 2013 and with the damage those emissions will do are also set in stone.
That’s just another reason why business as usual is over in the South Bay and why local governments will be directed by the people to not only divest of their investments in fossil fuels but also get rid of their city’s physical fossil fuel burners, like the AES power plant in Redondo Beach.
The institutions of our ruling world have a powerful stake in the mad momentum of climate change — the energy system that’s producing it and the political stasis that sustains and guarantees it — so powerful as to seem unbreakable. Don’t count on them to avert the coming crisis. They can’t. In some sense, they are the crisis.
Corporations and governments promote the burning of fossil fuels, which means the dumping of its waste product, carbon dioxide, into the atmosphere where, in record amounts, it heats the planet. This is not an oversight; it is a business model.
Governments collude with global warming, in part by bankrolling the giant fossil fuel companies (FFCs). As a recent report written by Shelagh Whitley for the Overseas Development Institute puts it,
“Producers of oil, gas, and coal received more than $500 billion in government subsidies around the world in 2011… If their aim is to avoid dangerous climate change, governments are shooting themselves in both feet. They are subsidizing the very activities that are pushing the world towards dangerous climate change, and creating barriers to investment in low-carbon development and subsidy incentives that encourage investment in carbon-intensive energy.”
Jim Light is spot on when he writes in the Tear Down This Power Plant blog that the landmark ruling the California Public Utilities Commission made last month requiring investor-owned utilities to build 1,325 megawatts of energy storage by 2020 “means more natural gas plants, like Redondo’s can be permanently retired.”
He also wisely features the entirety of the Evan Gillepse’s terrific piece for Sierra Club’s Compass site which includes what we consider the money quote from that article:
This is a game-changer in so many ways. It’s impossible to justify the construction of any new natural gas project when cost-effective, clean alternatives exist. Technology and innovation, coupled with smart policy, are changing the game and put California at the cusp of rendering fossil fuel plants obsolete. Think about that. With storage and clean energy now being built together, the endgame of a truly clean, modern electric system, completely free of fossil fuels, is within reach. Amazing.
AES is already developing large scale energy storage and just last month celebrated surpassing 100 megawatts of storage using batteries like those above.
But batteries are just one proven means of storing renewable energy. You can use molten salt and they’ve been doing just that in Spain since June of 2011 to run a solar power plant 24 hours a day. Yeah, imagine that, solar power when the sun isn’t shining. Even when it’s dark. You can do the same thing to store wind energy.
So there’s no reason in hell to keep burning a toxic fossil fuel right here in the neighborhood. Stick a fork it that eyesore. It’s done.
After we tear down the old AES Power Plant they should get out of the business of burning carbon and pay for the damage and destruction they’ve caused with their greenhouse gasses and pollution by supplying our beach communities with free renewable energy storage. That’s the least they owe us.
Another cautionary tale in today’s L.A. Times for Hermosa Beach. Seems like there’s one every day, doesn’t there?
Front page of today’s Sunday Times. The article tells how the once quaint and funky character of Avila Beach on our Central Coast was literally destroyed by the same oil industry that claims to care about your family’s safety, the public good and our communities’ well being. Of course that claim is the biggest crock of shit since Nixon claimed he wasn’t a crook.
Besides cooking our climate with greenhouse gases, polluting the daily air we breathe to the point of causing lung cancer, asthma and emphysema, the gang at Union Oil – now owned by the gang at Chevron, along with their pals at Exxon Mobil, Shell, BP, E&B and the other members of their cabal at the American Petroleum Institute are more than delighted to pony up to have your town leveled to the ground and then build a swaggy new upscale resort on the land they fucked over. And if you think that’s strong language you’re right – and that’s exactly the frank and direct way we ALL need to be talking about this reckless and rouge industry who will be only too happy to do the very same thing to Hermosa Beach. Being polite and weak about this at our current point in the timeline is simply suicidal.
Here’s what the Times reported on Avila Beach’s fate:
“We kind of miss the old town,” said Mike Cullen, 65, who lived and owned businesses here for more than three decades, and now visits from his home in Oahu with his dog, Buddy Blue VI. “The whole thing just got erased.”
It was a terrible slog. Bulldozers removed about 300,000 cubic yards of earth, sometimes digging 15 feet deep in the heart of town to excise the last of the pollutants. Commerce ground to a halt. Many residents were displaced; some were given a check for their pain and inconvenience and never came back.
Ask E&B oil if they can guarantee there won’t be an oil spill in Hermosa Beach, or an oil well blowout, or an equipment failure that causes oil to ooze where it shouldn’t. Ask E&B if they can guarantee that their operation won’t cause more cancer and other diseases then would have been in Hermosa without them. Ask them if they can guarantee that burning that oil won’t send us over the climate tipping point. They cannot make those guarantees. Neither can any of their supporters. They can only do their phony dance about how advanced technology and super safe practices are state of the art. Tell it to every town and city that found out too late what bullshit that really is.
But South Bay 350 and Stop Hermosa Oil can guarantee you that none of those negative impacts will ever hit Hermosa Beach and our surrounding South Bay community from that oil and the CO2 it releases when it stays safely sequestered right where it belongs – under the ground and sea where it sits today. If E&B wants to take ownership of something, let them take ownership for all the damage their company has already done to us by their operations over the last 40 years – the worst 40 years our climate has ever experienced.
That $17.5 million in kiss off money to give E&B the boot is chump change compared to what it will take to erase and rebuild Hermosa Beach and the impacted towns of Manhattan Beach, Redondo Beach and whoever else gets oiled up by “accident.”
But it won’t really be an accident if it happens here. Not when we can see it coming and avoid it ahead of time. Not when E&B tells you in their own vision statement about their commitment to “Aggressive optimization and development of existing and acquired assets,” and their “Active and opportunistic acquisition of producing properties…” That aggressive attitude and opportunistic nature are the hallmarks of an accident waiting to happen.
You can say a lot of things about what’s going to happen. But what you can’t honestly say is you didn’t see it coming.
The voters of Hermosa Beach sent an early signal of their opposition to oil drilling in their bucolic little beach town by giving the boot to incumbent “Mayor of EgoTown” Kit Bobko while reelecting environmentalist Jeff Duclos and avowed anti-oil candidate Nanette Barragan along with fence-sitting Carolyn Petty to the Hermosa Beach City Council. Bobko’s ploy of pretending to be an environmentalist by taking credit for the work of others, despite his record of supporting climate change deniers and carbon producers proved to be as ineffectual and futile as his term as ceremonial mayor has been.
Now it’s time for Hermosa Beach and the rest of the South Bay to focus on giving E&B Oil the boot and sequestering that carbon under our land and our sea in the ground where it belongs. It seems beyond obvious to say that you cannot be a carbon neutral city if you’re going to have 30 oil and gas wells sucking up millions of barrels of carbon to be burned and added to our carbon budget of 565 gigatons before we go past the point of no return in 15 years. That’s your carbon contribution Hermosa Beach. You own that part of the budget and there is nothing your city can do to neutralize it.
But you have the power to cut that carbon from the budget Hermosa, just like they’ve done in Colorado where voters in communities across the northern Front Range of the Rocky Mountain state voted Tuesday to halt fracking in their backyards. They kicked the ass of the oil and gas industry despite being outspent by the carbon burning industry by a 30–1 margin.
Two cities, Boulder and Fort Collins, passed 5-year moratoriums while another, Lafayette, adopted an outright ban on fracking. As of early today, the vote on a third moratorium in Broomfield was too close to call. The votes in these four communities follow similar efforts last year in Longmont, which passed a ban on fracking as well as tough new regulations on drilling.
Our Colorado friends have provided the blueprint for our plans to rid the South Bay of the fossil fuel burning Redondo Beach Power Plant and the proposed oil drilling operations in Hermosa Beach. No matter how much money the carbon burners who are destroying our climate spend to defeat us they cannot win if we do our jobs.
Like our friends in Whitter right here in L.A. County did. The Whittier Hills Oil Watch group delivered a unanimous vote from the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors a week ago to oppose a plan to drill for oil in publicly owned parkland in the Whittier hills. The Sups said the proposal would undermine open space protection throughout the county. I wonder how they feel about the open space that is the beach and Pacific Ocean when it comes to new oil drilling.
“Oil and open space don’t mix,” Supervisor Gloria Molina said after the vote, noting that the land was purchased with taxpayer money earmarked for conservation efforts. “We’ve purchased hundreds of acres of land across Los Angeles County using millions of Prop. A dollars. To allow oil drilling on land in Whittier acquired with Prop. A monies would set a dangerous precedent. We cannot allow it.”
Supervisor Don Knabe and his staff have always been friends of South Bay 350 Climate Action Group and supported our past efforts. We’re looking forward to working with them – and our enlightened local leaders – to deliver more good news about divesting our public investments in the fossil fuel industry – especially the physical assets of that industry that use our communities air, water and land to pump the no longer acceptable toxic waste their products produce.
Welcome to our South Bay 350 Climate Action Group Blog. This is where you’ll learn the latest news and information about not just the South Bay 350 Climate Action Group, but also about climate action throughout Los Angeles, California and everywhere else it’s happening. We hope you’ll interact with us, ask us questions, tell us how you feel and share information with our entire audience.