Tag Archives: Vatican conference on climate change

SF Chronicle editorial: A climate pilgrimage

Repost from The San Francisco Chronicle
[Editor:  The San Francisco Chronicle ran three (!) stories on the Vatican Conference on climate change, including two rather stiff challenges to California Governor Jerry Brown.  See below for one.  See also: As California pumps out oil, Gov. Brown says world must cut back … and SF Mayor touts green vehicles at Vatican conference.  – RS]

Climate change road trip for Jerry Brown and Ed Lee

Editorial, The San Francisco Chronicle, July 21, 2015 5:16pm

California is taking its climate change ambitions on a pilgrimage to Rome. The mission amplifies the major steps that have put this state out front in reshaping energy use and also taps into a sweeping papal message on reining in environmental damage.

Leading the tour is Gov. Jerry Brown, joined by San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee among some 60 global mayors. The Vatican gathering, which will also touch on human trafficking, intends to build on Pope Francis’ encyclical denouncing the toll from climate change and puts pressure on world leaders to take action at a U.N. summit in Paris in December.

Former Jesuit seminarian Brown put himself in tune with Francis by talking up the “moral dimension” of human-caused problems such as erratic weather, rising seas and dirty air. But he also struck a more earthly note, lashing out at “troglodyte” skeptics who deny the science behind rising temperatures and shifting climates.

California is already a leader in reducing tailpipe emissions, cutting fossil fuel use and increasing energy efficiency, going well beyond national standards. In the next 15 years, Brown wants to kick up the pace: Half of California’s electricity will come from renewables such as solar, wind or biofuels, and gas pump use will drop by half as well.

He told his audience of clerics and politicians that such goals sound “unimaginable” but are needed. Brown lashed out at “fierce opposition and blind inertia” from doubtful lawmakers and dug-in business interests. Brown himself is no stranger to these pressures, giving his blessing to fracking for oil and gas, widely opposed by environmentalists. In his encyclical, Francis also criticized cap-and-trade regulations as too lax, though the carbon-tax mechanism is a bedrock feature of the governor’s energy plans.

The gathering is also chance for other leaders to showcase policies. Lee unwrapped a plan to phase out petroleum in favor of renewable diesel fuels for the municipal fleet by the end of the year. It’s a another step in clearing the air of damaging greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change.

Share...

    SF Mayor touts green vehicles at Vatican conference

    Repost from The San Francisco Chronicle (SFGate)
    [Editor:  The San Francisco Chronicle ran three (!) stories on the Vatican Conference on climate change, including two rather stiff challenges to California Governor Jerry Brown.  See below for one.  See also: As California pumps out oil, Gov. Brown says world must cut back … and Editorial: A climate pilgrimage.  – RS]

    Mayor touts S.F.’s green vehicle plans at Vatican conference

    By Emily Green, July 21, 2015 4:25 pm,

    San Francisco will switch its municipal fleet — some 6,000 vehicles ranging from fire trucks to police cars — from petroleum to renewable diesel by the end of the year, Mayor Ed Lee said Tuesday during his trip to the Vatican.

    “We’re taking action that is good for the global climate, and at the same time promotes environmental justice in our community by leading to cleaner, healthier air for some of our most vulnerable neighborhoods,” Lee said. “The city of St. Francis is answering the pope’s call for local action on global climate change.”

    His comments came at a major conference hosted by Pope Francis focusing on climate change and human trafficking.

    Renewable diesel — which can be derived from soybean, palm, canola or rapeseed oil, plus animal tallow and grease — is more environmentally friendly than petroleum, but also more expensive to produce. The city will finance the transition by relying on a mix of federal and state rebates, which administration officials said makes biodiesel available at or below the cost of regular gas.

    San Francisco has some of the most progressive environmental policies in the country. From 1990 to 2012, it reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 23 percent, said Roger Kim, a senior adviser to Lee on the environment. And it has a goal of reducing carbon emissions by 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2025.

    It began moving away from petroleum diesel six years ago by transitioning to a blend of fuel that is 20 percent biodiesel and 80 percent petroleum diesel. Last year, the San Francisco Fire Department piloted the use of 100 percent renewable diesel for its fleet.

    Renewable diesel is not the same as biodiesel. While both derive in large part from plant and animal oils, they are produced through different chemical processes.

    Share...

      As California pumps out oil, Gov. Brown says world must cut back

      Repost from The San Francisco Chronicle (SFGate)
      [Editor:  The San Francisco Chronicle ran three (!) stories on the Vatican Conference on climate change, including two rather stiff challenges to California Governor Jerry Brown.  See below for one.  See also: Editorial-A climate pilgrimage, …and Mayor touts city’s green vehicles at pope’s event.  – RS]

      As California pumps out oil, Gov. Brown says world must cut back

      By David R. Baker, July 21, 2015 4:02 pm
      Gov. Jerry Brown delivers his speech during the conference at the Vatican. Photo: Gregorio Borgia, Associated Press
      Gov. Jerry Brown delivers his speech during the conference at the Vatican. Photo: Gregorio Borgia, Associated Press (1st of 10 images – click for more).

      One-third of the world’s oil must stay in the ground if humanity hopes to avoid the worst effects of global warming, Gov. Jerry Brown told a climate conference at the Vatican Tuesday.

      “We are going to have to set a clear goal,” Brown told a crowd of mayors and public officials from around the world. “And that goal is almost unimaginable. One-third of the oil that we know exists as reserves can never be taken out of the ground. Fifty percent of the gas can never be used and over 90 percent of the coal. Now, that is a revolution.”

      For an American politician of Brown’s stature, it was a rare statement. Even those who acknowledge the threat of climate change prefer not to address the idea that tapping all of the world’s known fossil fuel reserves would trigger catastrophic levels of warming, a notion widely embraced in the environmental movement.

      But Brown’s comment was particularly noteworthy for another reason.

      California, for all its efforts to fight climate change, remains America’s third-largest oil producing state, out-pumped only by Texas and North Dakota. And while Brown wants to cut California’s use of oil by 50 percent in the next 15 years, he has generally supported oil production within the state’s borders.

      Brown has for years refused to ban hydraulic fracturing, preferring to regulate it instead. He has argued that finding a way to tap the oil trapped within California’s Monterey Shale formation could produce an economic boom for the state. His stance has infuriated many environmentalists, even as they laud his efforts to boost renewable power and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

      So Brown’s comments, at the Vatican global symposium on climate change and modern slavery, raised a few eyebrows back home.

      “We agree, fossil fuels need to stay in the ground,” said Kassie Siegel of the Center for Biological Diversity, one of the environmental groups pushing for a fracking ban. “That’s why Gov. Brown can’t be a climate leader and expand fossil fuel production in his own state. Climate leaders do not frack.”

      Brown urged the gathered mayors to push for climate action within their own countries, saying they needed to “light a fire” under their national leaders. And he took aim at opponents of such action, saying they were “bamboozling” the public with a well-financed disinformation campaign.

      “We have very powerful opposition that, in at least my country, spends billions on trying to keep from office people such as yourselves and elect troglodytes and other deniers of the obvious science,” Brown said.

      Share...