Local Assembly Representative Paul Krekorian and State Senator Fran Pavley joined Environment California Thursday at UCLA to discuss just-released data showing greenhouse gas pollution in California up 10 percent. UCLA Institute of the Environment Director Dr. Glen MacDonald hosted the meeting.
Environment California’s analysis of U.S. Department of Energy data show California carbon dioxide emissions up 10 percent from 1990 to 2007, placing it second nationwide for emissions. “More pollution than ever before is not a record we want to set,” said Mike Kantor, the policy group’s federal field organizer. On the positive side, the analysis showed that California ranks 45th in fossil fuel carbon dioxide emissions per capita, reflecting the state’s high energy efficiency standards and programs that curb increases in energy consumption.
The state’s third year of record drought, population growth, energy use going for water treatment and transport, the rise in sea levels, the potential for salt water intrusion into freshwater supplies, and the growing number and devastation of wildfires all demonstrate the need for quick action, declared Senator Pavley, who chairs California’s Natural Resource and Water Committee. The cost of doing nothing to combat global warming is very high; she warned of declining property values, a loss of watershed, and high firefighting costs borne by local governments.
Assemblyman Krekorian said he would continue to press for the California Air Resources Board’s goal of getting 33 percent of the state’s electricity from renewable sources. Although upfront costs are high, “Once we establish a renewable energy infrastructure, the fuel is free.” AB 64, Krekorian’s bipartisan-supported bill with the most aggressive renewable energy standard in the world, was recently vetoed by Governor Schwarzenegger.
Dr. MacDonald said he was glad to see the basic term pollution in Environment California’s report title. “Greenhouse gases – carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel burning – are serious pollution.” He stressed the usefulness of the new report for policymaking at state and federal levels, and thanked Pavley and Krekorian for their commitment to ending fossil fuel dependence and combating its adverse effects.
Upcoming posts will cover detailed findings in the report, along with background on Environment California and the Institute of the Environment.