Bay Area Commits to 80% Greenhouse Gas Reduction

Search form

Bay Area Commits to 80% Greenhouse Gas Reduction

Bay Area Commits to 80% Greenhouse Gas Reduction
Mon, 11/11/2013 - by John Upton
This article originally appeared on Grist

Air-quality officials in the oil-refinery-dotted and highway-laced San Francisco Bay Area committed Wednesday to substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the famously progressive region.

Bay Area Air Quality Management District leaders directed agency staff to begin the work needed to reduce emissions to 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. The unanimous vote by the air district’s directors was celebrated by environmentalists, including 350.org and the Sierra Club, which described it as “historic.”

“This is a little more significant than most climate action plans, in that the air district has real regulatory teeth,” 350.org Bay Area spokesperson Rand Wrobel told Grist. “This resolution will mean that the five refineries in the Bay Area could basically not function, as they produce some 40 percent of the stationary source industrial and commercial emissions.”

The heavily polluting refineries could be forced to cut output or vastly improve their environmental performance at a time when they arepreparing to begin processing dirty tar-sands oil from Canada.

In 2005, California’s then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger ordered the state to reduce emissions 80 percent by 2050 compared with 1990 levels. Which is nice, but actually meeting that requirement requires a helluva lot of planning, legislation, and subsequent enforcement at the state, regional, and local levels. Now the Bay Area is stepping up to that challenge.

A new study by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory shows that California is on track to meet the goal of reducing emissions back to 1990 levels by 2020 — but the 2050 goal will be more elusive. California is reducing its emissions through a variety of aggressive steps, including a carbon-trading system and a requirement that utilities generate some of their electricity from renewables (which has led to the development of some of the world’s biggest solar farms in the state’s deserts). But the researchers found that bold new technologies and policies are needed to meet the ambitious 2050 goal, especially because the state is projected to experience significant population growth over the next four decades.

The resolution adopted by the air district’s board on Wednesday lays out a 10-point plan for how the Bay Area will meet that goal. It includes expanding pollution enforcement, improving emissions monitoring and forecasting, and conducting new studies into the Bay Area’s energy future. Most importantly, it requires agency staff to develop a regional climate action strategy and accelerate the development of planned air-pollution rules.

Here’s hoping these kinds of ambitions spread far and wide — like a plume of pollution from a Chevron refinery smokestack.

Originally published by Grist

Article Tabs

On Sunday, hundreds of people milled around a protest site in the gentrifying, densely-populated district Mong Kok, manning aid stations and sitting in small circles on the pavement.

The California city of Rialto saw an 88% drop in claims of police misconduct within one year of officers wearing cameras.

"Peoples' movements will either succeed in transforming our economic and political systems to build a new world, or we will burn with the old one."

Florida has the highest foreclosure rate in the U.S. in the first quarter of 2014, and also has a "foreclosure king" who is now disbarred for his failure to oversee employees accused of carrying out wrongful foreclosures.

More than 110 students were reportedly arrested by the military-backed authorities during the first days of the new academic year.

"What we are doing is taking back this bit of common land for a short amount of time to create a real debate – a real discussion that people want to be having.”

Posted 6 days 16 hours ago

“We wanted to take action to dramatize the betrayal of the American people and show that we will resist and attempt to disrupt or at least expose pro-corruption politicians' ability to raise big money.”

Posted 4 days 20 hours ago

After 13 years of militarized zealotry and fear-mongering in the name of fighting terrorism, Risen's new book, "Pay Any Price: Greed, Power, and Endless War," unveils difficult post-9/11 truths.

Posted 5 days 20 hours ago

The oil giant, with $21.4 billion in 2013 revenue, is trying to buy upcoming municipal elections in Richmond that pit a pro-Chevron bloc of city council members against an anti-Chevron bloc.

Posted 5 days 19 hours ago

The Seattle festival showcases bold visions on the screen, with 50 films challenging societal structures through creative perspectives and a critical eye.

Posted 5 days 19 hours ago
Foreclosure Victim Sues Big Banks Over Libor Manipulation

A retiree who lost her home to foreclosure has filed a class-action lawsuit against 12 banks for allegedly manipulating Libor.

Breakdown of GMO Labeling Laws in Each Country. Dozens of major countries, including the BRIC nations and nearly all of Europe, have mandatory labeling laws for genetically modified (GM) foods. The U.S., Canada and Mexico do not. Is there a disconnect here?

New ALEC Law Makes Reporting Factory Farm Abuse an "Act of Terrorism"

New Hampshire, Wyoming and Nebraska are the latest states to introduce Ag-Gag laws aimed at preventing employees, journalists or activists from exposing illegal or unethical practices on factory farms.

Inequality-Fighting Lawmakers Won Big in Election

House members who got A+ grades for working to narrow America's economic divide were rewarded last week with election victories.

A strategy meeting in Amsterdam became a critical milestone for the convergence of different European social movements on the frontlines of resistance against the neoliberal E.U. austerity regime in 2014.

Sign Up