California joins Oregon, Washington and British Columbia in climate action plan

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Gov. Jerry Brown spoke in San Francisco today at Cisco-Meraki's Mission Bay headquarters.
GUARDIAN PHOTO BY REBECCA BOWE

Gov. Jerry Brown announced a regional agreement Oct. 28 with Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia to align policies for combating climate change.

“This is what is totally unique: We have a problem whose timescale is beyond anything we’ve ever dealt with,” Brown said as he gathered with Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber, Washington Governor Jay Inslee and British Columbia Premier Christy Clark (who joined remotely) to sign the agreement. “So, we have to take action before we see or experience all the problems we’re dealing with.”

In most political venues, “to actually utter the word ‘global warming' is deviant and radical in 2013,” Brown said. “But you just watch … this will spread until we have a handle on the world’s greatest existential challenge.”

Called the Pacific Coast Action Plan on Climate and Energy, the pact commits all the jurisdictions to take a leadership role in national and international climate change policy by agreeing to emissions reduction targets; to transition the West Coast to cleaner modes of transportation such as high-speed rail; and to invest in clean energy and infrastructure through actions like streamlining permitting of renewable energy infrastructure and supporting integration of the region’s electricity grids.

Apart from this accord, Brown noted that “California has already signed a memorandum of understanding with several provinces in China,” concerning the need to work together on climate change, “and in fact with the national government itself.”

Meanwhile, a group of protesters gathered outside the Cisco-Meraki offices in Mission Bay, where the event was held, to oppose Brown’s unwillingness to support a statewide ban on fracking, an oil and gas extraction technique that environmentalists fear could contribute to groundwater contamination and increased greenhouse gas emissions.

“It’s starkly hypocritical for Governor Brown to be inking climate agreements while he’s at the same time green-lighting a massive expansion of fracking for dirty oil in California,” said protester Zack Malitz.

Asked to respond to the protesters’ concerns, Brown responded, “I signed legislation that will create the most comprehensive environmental analysis of fracking today,” referring to a bill that requires environmental review but has been criticized as flawed because it does not impose an outright ban.

“The big issue is the Monterey Shale,” he added, referring to an expansive underground oil reserve that environmentalists fear could be opened up to fracking, “and nobody is talking about doing anything there for an extended period of time, and not before the environmental document.”

Comments

Down grading from a V12 to a V8.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 28, 2013 @ 6:37 pm

if you are going to drive a high end vehicle?

Posted by elxdkjfvl on Oct. 28, 2013 @ 6:50 pm

Let's see if Brown can actually cease his abject pandering to the fossil fuel and fracking industry, and follow through with legitimate and rapid improvements on the ground (not just in policy rhetoric on paper).

I'm not countin' my chickens just yet...

Posted by Eric Brooks on Oct. 28, 2013 @ 9:07 pm

some fire problems. And I enjoy the throaty roar of a big block attacking the terrain. There's a lot of us car nuts out there, and i'm not sure waging war on them is your best strategy.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 29, 2013 @ 5:19 pm

and in any event the number of car nuts compared to car drivers is miniscule

definitely do miss the the feel of the 70s era v-12 Cadillac though

those were the days....

now they are over

planet needs savin'

Posted by blkjf on Oct. 29, 2013 @ 5:46 pm

We've already passed 400ppm, a supposed tipping point. That carbon won't leave the atmosphere for a very long time. No sane person believes we will become a net carbon negative world this century.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 28, 2013 @ 6:49 pm

...at the same time that we lower emissions.

Look up 'carbon farmin'.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Oct. 28, 2013 @ 7:00 pm

The human body alone produces as much carbon dioxide in a year as a half-acre of trees can sequester. If you converted half of the world's cropland to trees, you'd cover human CO2 emissions. All that's left is ALL emissions due to industry, agriculture, and natural events. A single coal plant emits as much carbon annually as 3 million acres of trees, so you'd better start planting!

Good luck with your carbon farming.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 28, 2013 @ 7:18 pm

Thanks for your cogent argument in favor of population control. It turns out that you can fart your way to hell.

Posted by marcos on Oct. 28, 2013 @ 7:40 pm

Kang: Abortions for all.

Kang: Very well, no abortions for anyone.

Kang: Hmm... Abortions for some, miniature American flags for others.

Posted by Matlock on Oct. 28, 2013 @ 8:37 pm

KANG: Out! We need no urging to hate humans. But for the present, only a fool fights in a burning house. Out!
(To the sound of laughter, the weird light turns to white and leaves the Enterprise.

KARIDIAN: I was a soldier in a cause. There were things to be done, terrible things.
LENORE: Stop it, Father! You have nothing to justify.
KARIDIAN: Murder, flight, suicide, madness. I never wanted the blood on my hands ever to stain you.
LENORE: I did it for you. I've saved you.

Posted by marcos on Oct. 28, 2013 @ 8:46 pm

what the fuck you are talking about

he said look it up

not respond immediately with yet another uneducated dipshit comment flimsily dressed up to pretend to be educated

Posted by ljhdfgfl on Oct. 28, 2013 @ 8:51 pm

Actually the capacity of carbon farming to rapidly sequester enough atmospheric CO2 to help quickly reverse the climate crisis is immense.

Here is a short video of Darren Doherty talking about that capacity, totally blowing to irrelevance what 'Guest' absurdly claims above: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kSSZwbtiblw

And here is a 2 hour presentation by Doherty in which he explains how this type of farming is done:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oDMg6W95-2s&list=PL0A2B8FFE3A036914

Posted by Eric Brooks on Oct. 28, 2013 @ 11:45 pm

If sequestration is that easy, there's no need to damage our economy with emissions taxes and other green schemes.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 29, 2013 @ 7:51 am

If we continue business as usual, emissions will continue to increase and overwhelm any gains from carbon farming.

And we are already dangerously around 50-100 parts per million higher in atmospheric carbon than we should be to avert the crisis.

We need to reduce our carbon emissions to zero -and- pull carbon back down out of the sky in vast quantities by mid century just top out at 450 part per million total (which even itself is the very unwise tip of a very bad danger zone).

Then, after that point, carbon farming has the power to -reduce- the parts per million of carbon in the atmosphere to below 350 (the top of safe zone). And we should try to hit 250.

It will take both near zero emissions and carbon farming to save us, both implemented over the course of at least the rest of this century if not longer.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Oct. 29, 2013 @ 12:34 pm

How could we reduce our carbon emissions to zero?

Posted by Guest on Oct. 29, 2013 @ 12:47 pm

And this can be achieved by:

1) a complete shift to renewable clean energy and mass transit for transportation

2) getting as many people to eat as low on the food chain as they can, while also aggressively instituting the carbon farming practices I noted above in all agriculture worldwide

3) extensively restoring lost forests and their watersheds

All of this to be completed by at least mid century (and 2035 to 2040 would be far wiser)

This is clearly a nearly impossible task, and yet, if we expect to survive, we have to do it, (and also pray that we get very lucky and that nature shows more resilience than we think it will).

So the denial, and hemming and hawing, need to stop immediately so we can get to it.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Oct. 29, 2013 @ 1:29 pm

You really think that adapting to climate change would be more difficult than going to near zero carbon emissions?

Posted by Guest on Oct. 29, 2013 @ 1:38 pm

Imagine a billion people trying to migrate from the uninhabitable sections the Earth to where we live. (That is the likely outcome under even an -optimistic- business-as-usual scenario.)

That problem all by itself, is clearly worse than switching out our energy use and transportation infrastructure; the latter which will also create millions and millions of jobs over the next few decades and beyond.

Prevention is far better.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Oct. 29, 2013 @ 2:06 pm

Migrations would happen over hundreds of years.A billion people wouldn't move all at once.

Crippling our economy by making energy scarce and expensive and convincing everyone on earth to carbon farm and enforcing planet wide veganism would be much more difficult than adapting over time to a slightly warmer world.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 29, 2013 @ 2:16 pm

These huge migrations will be forced over a course of mere decades (in fact they have already started).

And your claims that an energy transition will cripple the economy are simply exactly the opposite of reality.

Switching out our entire energy, transportation and agricultural systems for new and better ones will be the biggest economic engine in the history of human kind, creating a huge economic boom time for the rest of the century.

Anyone who claims otherwise is either lying, or incapable of understanding economics.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Oct. 29, 2013 @ 2:27 pm

What I hear from you is maximum pessimism about our ability to adapt to anything UNLESS it is "green," in which case you have maximum optimism.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 29, 2013 @ 2:43 pm

I just raised the emigration problem as an example.

It is also likely, if we stay on a business-as-usual course, that the planet will literally become too hot for humans to live on it.

We cannot afford to get this wrong.

There will be no 'do-overs'.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Oct. 29, 2013 @ 3:00 pm

Your ideas about job creation are very primitive. Replacing our energy sources and transportation systems would "create jobs" in that they would be enormously costly, but they would dramatically decrease our standard of living by making energy expensive and taking resources from consumption and other investments.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 29, 2013 @ 2:19 pm

Clean energy and mass transit will clearly cost dramatically less than constantly buying and burning fossil fuel.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Oct. 29, 2013 @ 2:31 pm

This is your mantra but you don't give a shred of evidence for it. If clean energy were cheap, we'd be using it already. You assume it will become vastly cheaper, but gas and oil extraction and engine efficiency may also improve over the same timespan. Your whole worldview is based on doomy predictions about the climate and unshakeable certainty that technology that doesn't exist will save us from the hellish future you predict. You're in a cult, Eric. Seek help.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 29, 2013 @ 2:48 pm

The reason we haven't already switched to clean energy is that the entrenched fossil fuel industry is blocking us from doing so, because it will go out of business as soon as we transition.

And I explained in another answer on this thread why it is obvious that clean energy costs less.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Oct. 29, 2013 @ 3:03 pm

European green energy programs have driven up the price of electricity. What is obviously true to you is empirically false.

Posted by Helmet Coal on Oct. 29, 2013 @ 3:26 pm

...over time.

Renewables have a relatively high up front cost which takes 15-20 years to pay off. So while European consumers are indeed spending a little more right now, over the next full half century and beyond, they will pay far less.

The positive reality that clean energy sources do not require ongoing fuel expense is an unassailable fact of nature.

Here is an article which gives a much more comprehensive picture of how feed in tariffs work, how they have been (and will be) adjusted, and which also points out that the faster Germany builds renewables the more money consumers will save.

http://www.renewablesinternational.net/german-pv-drops-to-15-cents-max/1...

and here is another good article on the issue that gets the facts straight about such temporary clean energy price increases:

http://www.energybiz.com/article/13/08/germany-and-spain-s-solar-market-...

Posted by Eric Brooks on Oct. 29, 2013 @ 4:34 pm

Tldr "Energy costs are expected to fall as solar panel costs decline."

FUTURE solar panel PURCHASES are expected to be cheaper. Germans get no benefit from the billions they've overpaid for solar today, and solar panels don't last a half-century or more as you imply. The amortized cost of solar IS higher than alternatives today.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 29, 2013 @ 5:37 pm

There are still solar panels that have been in operation for 60 years.

And here is a citation from, of all sources, a PG&E employee, that shows how inaccurate your comment is.

http://howsolarworks.1bog.org/how-long-do-solar-panels-last

Posted by Eric Brooks on Oct. 29, 2013 @ 5:57 pm

Let's see if Brown can actually cease his abject pandering to the fossil fuel and fracking industry, and follow through with legitimate and rapid improvements on the ground (not just in policy rhetoric on paper).

I'm not countin' my chickens just yet...

Posted by Eric Brooks on Oct. 28, 2013 @ 6:58 pm

A block of ice just below the freezing point is far above absolute zero, so it actually contains plenty of heat. Can we take advantage of this to boil a pot of water, by setting it down on a block of ice?

Expecting an ambient heat engine to do any work, with only one heat reservoir, is exactly equivalent to expecting a teapot to boil water by absorbing heat from a block of ice.

Both processes are ruled out by the very same law - the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

An ambient-heat-powered engine, with only one heat reservoir, would not merely "circumvent" the Second Law of Thermodynamics - it would actually DISPROVE the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

An engine that uses ambient heat would need to be able to DECREASE the entropy of the universe. The Second Law tells us that we can never decrease the entropy of the universe, or of an isolated system.

As a consequence of this law:

"It is impossible for any device operating on a cycle to produce net work from a single temperature reservoir; the production of net work requires flow of heat from a hotter reservoir to a colder reservoir."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Entropy#Second_law_of_thermodynamics

In a strictly ambient heat engine there are not two heat reservoirs at different temperatures; no reservoir would be available at any temperature other than the ambient temperature. No matter what cycle we design with this constraint, we will find that the cycle would have to be able to decrease the entropy of the universe in order to do any work.

The Second Law tells us that we can never build an engine that does some work with heat taken from a heat reservoir, without also transferring some heat to another reservoir at a lower temperature.

An equivalent statement is that we can't decrease the total entropy of an isolated system.

The entropy change differential due to heat transfer to or from a reservoir is inversely related to the temperature at which the transfer occurs. The consequence is that transferring heat INTO a cold reservoir produces a larger GAIN in entropy, than the LOSS of entropy that occurs due to transfer of the same amount of heat FROM a hot reservoir. This noteworthy and remarkable inequality enables a heat engine to use some heat to do some work without violating the Second Law - as long as it can make use of two different heat reservoirs, at different temperatures. The ambient-heat-powered engine only involves a single reservoir, at a single temperature (at any given moment). When it reduces the entropy of the reservoir by using some of the heat to do work, it has no way to compensate by increasing the entropy anywhere else. Therefore we know for certain that the engine will disappoint us. It will never be able to do any work.

Flow of heat from a block of ice to lukewarm water would also result in a DECREASE of the total entropy. To repeat, this is because the entropy change differential due to heat transfer to or from a reservoir is inversely related to the temperature at which the transfer occurs. Therefore the LOSS of entropy by the ice would be greater than the GAIN in entropy by the warm water, resulting in an overall decrease in entropy.

http://physicsreviewboard.wordpress.com/aesop-institute-s-purely-ambient...

http://greatnonprofits.org/reviews/aesop-institute/166232/

Posted by Guest on Oct. 28, 2013 @ 9:07 pm

"Called the Pacific Coast Action Plan on Climate and Energy, the pact commits all the jurisdictions to take a leadership role in national and international climate change policy by agreeing to emissions reduction targets; to transition the West Coast to cleaner modes of transportation such as high-speed rail;..."

Whenever I hear "high-speed rail" I envision the first major artery running along Hwys I-5/99 from Tijuana MX to Vancouver BC. Within a few years after completion smaller veins of raodways will sprout to cover 100 square miles in all directions from the HSR stations, completely filled with housing subdivisions, strip malls, and office parks with Fortune 500 back-offices and their "low-grade" engineering staff and factories.

Until the governor and state get serious about long-term zoning protections of agricultural land and open space in CA, HSR is merely another transportation project designed to give already wealthy land-owners even more wealth (hundreds of billions more), while converting the central valleys of CA, OR, WA and BC into one never-ending sprawlville.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 28, 2013 @ 9:35 pm

Your "vision" has no basis in reality. A Sacramento court will stop the current project later this year. There's no plausible way to build such a system that makes sense for American taxpayers.

Posted by Rob Anderson on Oct. 29, 2013 @ 11:10 am
Posted by Guest on Oct. 29, 2013 @ 11:15 am

...to implement high speed rail are ridiculous. Countries and states all over the planet with all sorts of geography and topography have been easily running high speed rail for decades.

The reason we haven't built real high speed rail in California yet, is corrupt fossil fuel and auto industry interference.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Oct. 29, 2013 @ 12:45 pm

this has been mis-managed from the start and there is a real danger it will get half-built and then aborted.

Most of the other nations that have HSR are small, with the exception of China which of course can do massive projects because there is no opposition - I'm not sure that's the model we want here.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 29, 2013 @ 1:26 pm

But we'd better damned well figure it out anyway.

Because continuing all of our long range trips on airplanes would be the height of insanity.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Oct. 29, 2013 @ 1:42 pm

It's like Eric is unfamiliar with the history of massive cost overruns in projects like these. Some countries can build big things cheaply, but if the last few decades is any indication we can't.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 29, 2013 @ 1:46 pm

...make this transition economically.

This is because clean energy and transit technologies will bring in huge monetary savings and revenues with which to pay back installation costs.

The real problems are 1) somehow building sufficient political will against a massively well funded and entrenched opposition, and 2) the sheer incredibly difficult logistics of such a rapid transition.

It is problem 2 that demands that we get up off of our asses immediately, solve problem 1 quickly, and get started.

Because the longer we wait the harder it will be to turn around the currently still rapidly growing emissions and their climate impacts.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Oct. 29, 2013 @ 2:14 pm

"This is because clean energy and transit technologies will bring in huge monetary savings and revenues with which to pay back installation costs."

And you know this because... ??

Posted by Guest on Oct. 29, 2013 @ 2:40 pm

Installing clean power generation costs roughly the same as installing fossil fuel generation, but -after- it is built, requires -no- ongoing purchases of fuel. So it obviously costs less. This is also true of transit because it requires -less- money to build it than to build personal automobiles and uses far less fuel.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Oct. 29, 2013 @ 2:48 pm

Why have German consumers electricity bills doubled as a result of their clean energy project? What do you know that they don't, Eric?

http://spectrum.ieee.org/energywise/energy/policy/germany-could-face-ele...

Posted by Helmet Coal on Oct. 29, 2013 @ 3:20 pm

If you read the article you cited more closely you will see that energy rates have not doubled, and that they will only do so if Germany does not adjust its feed in tariff program. Since Germany has already adjusted the feed in tariff program previously for exactly this reason, it will undoubtedly do so again.

The more important answer to your question though, is that renewables have a relatively high up front cost which takes 15-20 years to pay off. So while German consumers are indeed spending a little more right now, over the next full half century and beyond, they will pay far less.

The positive reality that clean energy sources do not require ongoing fuel expense is an unassailable fact of nature.

Here is an article which gives a much more comprehensive picture of how the feed in tariffs work, how they have been (and will be) adjusted, and which also points out that the faster Germany builds renewables the more money consumers will save.

http://www.renewablesinternational.net/german-pv-drops-to-15-cents-max/1...

and here is another good article on the issue that gets the facts straight about such temporary clean energy price increases:

http://www.energybiz.com/article/13/08/germany-and-spain-s-solar-market-...

Posted by Eric Brooks on Oct. 29, 2013 @ 4:25 pm

Your reading comprehension is hopelessly bad, Eric. Fortunately, the world is once again ignoring your doomsday cult.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 29, 2013 @ 5:40 pm

From:

http://howsolarworks.1bog.org/how-long-do-solar-panels-last/

"After 40 years, they’re still producing 80% of their rating.

According to Andy Black at the PG&E solar class at the Pacific Energy Center, some of the very first solar panels made back in the ’70s are still pumping out power up in Northern California after 40 years, and they’re still at about 80% of their original power ratings.

According to Black, all solar panels lose about half a percent a year in efficiency. They are warrantied to 25 years because at a half percent a year, in 25 years they’ve lost 12.5% of their original power. The panel still retains 87.5% power output, it’s just that the panel manufacturer can’t claim a panel is producing X power when it’s producing 12.5% less power than when it was originally tested. After 25 years, a 10 KW system is now a 8.75 KW system, and a 4 KW system is now effectively an 3.5 KW system.

Although the solar array on your home will likely not be worth as much as new panels in 25 years, it should have paid itself off many times over and will still be producing free power for your home. There is no reason to buy new panels if the ones you already have are still producing enough power for your needs."

Posted by Eric Brooks on Oct. 29, 2013 @ 6:02 pm

Let me get this straight, Rob: you hate bikes and you don't want California to build high-speed rail. So then all you really support are cars and planes, the two most polluting forms of transportation, and two forms that would require mass public infrastructure upgrades to handle the state's growing population. Good thing few people listen to you. 

Posted by steven on Oct. 29, 2013 @ 11:24 am

As I understand it, Rob wanted EIR's for all new bikes lanes. Given that creating bike lanes takes resources away from other road users, that is not an unreasonable approach to take.

Furthermore, bikes are only for those who are young, fit, healthy and foolhardy. Not everyone else is, and the disabled, the old, the young, the frail, the sick and so on either have to drive or take Muni. Some bike infrastructure has slowed down Muni, and Muni serves all - bikes just serve a segment of the community (and a fairly privileged segment at that, from what I have noticed).

Finally, while HSR might eventually be a good substitute for most flights, it will never be viable in a nation this size for journey of more than a few hours. Planes will be around for a long time, as will cars. I'm willing to bet you've taken a few flights in your time, Steven.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 29, 2013 @ 11:53 am

Planes and cars -can't- be 'around for a long time' at current scales, because if they are, all of us may personally face a catastrophic collapse of civilization within our own lifetimes.

This is not a drill.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Oct. 29, 2013 @ 12:53 pm

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