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BP America Steps Up to California Greenhouse Gas Act

4 September 2006

BP America says that it will work with California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to develop workable, market-based strategies for implementation of climate change legislation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions throughout California. The California Assembly last week passed the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, which Governor Schwarzenegger is expected to sign into law in the near future.

The act is intended to cap greenhouse gas emissions in the state, and reduce them to 1990 levels by 2020—an estimated 25% reduction. (Earlier post.)

After speaking with Governor Schwarzenegger, I believe that, through his leadership, a fully functioning market will become an integral part of the system to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Having an emissions market will help California achieve the lowest cost solutions and spur innovation of new technologies supporting lower greenhouse gas emissions.

—BP Group Chief Executive John Browne

BP is an advocate of emission cap-and-trading programs to achieve emissions reductions and is an active participant in the European Union emissions reduction market. In 1998, the BP set a target to cut emissions from operations to 10% below 1990 levels by 2010; the company managed to hit that target in 2001 through a combination of energy efficiency and by cutting flaring of unwanted gas.

In February, BP and Edison Mission Group (EMG), a subsidiary of Edison International, announced a new $1-billion hydrogen-fueled power plant in California that will generate electricity with minimal carbon dioxide emissions. (Earlier post.) The project is part of the portfolio of BP’s new low-carbon power generation business, BP Alternative Energy.

I believe this legislation can provide a framework for addressing climate change in a way that helps, not harms, California’s economy. Our engagement on this issue will continue as new climate change regulations are developed. We want this effort to be successful because what happens in California matters to the nation and to the world.

—BP America Chairman and President Bob Malone

Resources:

  • BP Sustainability Report (Climate Change section)

September 4, 2006 in Climate Change, Emissions, Power Generation | Permalink | Comments (29) | TrackBack (0)

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Great! Lets get this rolling..

And if this legislation does end up harming California's economy, will its proponents take responsiblity for that harm?

And if we don't make any changes will those that pushed for such inaction take responsibility for the global catastrophy that is going to unfold? Lets get things in perspective here. Any slow down in the California economy is going to dwarf in comparison to the global consequences of inaction. In any case there is good reason to believe these policies will be an economic stimulus, not dampener. How short sited can you be? If you are a climate change denier at this stage of the game, well, who cares what you think.

Economies can be fixed; planets can't be, at least in any kind of human time frame.

Marcus:

I guess that real climate scientists like Dr. Richard Lindzen and Dr. Roger Pielke, Sr. have no credibility in your eyes. Dr. Pielke's blog often includes links to peer-reviewed scientific literature that casts doubt on the reliability of GCMs.

Even Kyoto Protocol signatories aren't meeting their emissions goals. Europe's overall emissions rose in 2004. Did you know that Germany has given its coal powerplants a 14 year CO2 emissions pass?

If you really want to do something about climate change, give me something that's an effective and economical replacement for oil and coal. BP gets real credit for putting R&D dollars into butanol. But it's still many years to prove its viability.

I think we've had this argument before. I vote we live on the better safe than sorry end of things and implement carbon taxes.

Cervus,

Pielke Sr. simply thinks local land use changes induced by human activity (ie deforestation, urbanization etc) have been understated in their importance and he questions global climate models. His critisisms in the past have had a positive effect on climate modeling. He doesn't deny human caused climate forcing by CO2 emissions, he just thinks local land use changes are more important and of course that happens to be his speciality - he models local phenomena.

I'm not going to comment on Lindzen other than to provide this link which I think adequately deals with him:

http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2006/04/lindzen-point-by-point/

Since you aren't a climate scientist Cervus I find it highly suspect that, like so many others who have their own agenda, you happen to cherry pick a small number of outliers within the science community to support your view. Why do you do this? Of course a consensus in the scientific literature doesn't make it right but it does make it our best evidence supported hypothesis. The prudent course of action is obvious.

Marcus:

Are you familiar with the Wegman Report?

Dean Esmay has a good summary.

Wegman found:

"It is important to note the isolation of the paleoclimate community; even though they rely heavily on statistical methods they do not seem to be interacting with the statistical community. Additionally, we judge that the sharing of research materials, data and results was haphazardly and grudgingly done. In this case we judge that there was too much reliance on peer review, which was not necessarily independent. Moreover, the work has been sufficiently politicized that this community can hardly reassess their public positions without losing credibility. Overall, our committee believes that Mann’s assessments that the decade of the 1990s was the hottest decade of the millennium and that 1998 was the hottest year of the millennium cannot be supported by his analysis."

The science behind climate change has become politicized to such a degree that I just don't trust it implicitly. And I find the solutions that are proposed--carbon taxes, Kyoto Protocol--abhorrent and inimical to economic liberty. Not to mention completely ineffective, especially for Kyoto.

You have to understand the magnitude of the changes, and even economic sacrifices, you're asking us to make, creates a need for a very high degree of certainty in the predictions of GCMs and climate science in general.

Notice in my first post above I said "If". I am not certain that this new law will cause economic problems. I am reasonably certain based on the direct relationship between energy use and CO2 emissions, and the fact that there is still no viable replacement for coal/natural gas/oil, especially in the transportation sector. There is also the failure of Kyoto to really accomplish what it set out to do.

I do think we need alternative energy, but not for climate change reasons. We will hit peak oil production sometime in the next ten years, if we haven't already. The economic problems that will cause are much more immediate and dire than the climate predictions I've seen 50 years out. But I also see a solution out there to both climate change and peak oil issues that I would rather we focus on.

These guys.

Cervus:
Unfortunately, it looks like lost cause. GHG mafia will bully to submission US government, one way or another. European governments recognized very quickly, that they could benefit from this hysteria very handsomely, both monetary and politically, and looks like Governator got this idea too. Canadian Kyoto scenario is most likely – sign everything, do nothing (and allow GHG community get their small extortion money).

"I guess that real climate scientists like Dr. Richard Lindzen and Dr. Roger Pielke, Sr. have no credibility in your eyes."

Of course not. They're bought and paid for by people with a huge vested interest in denying climate change.

Why would anyone take such people seriously?

nd:

If you read the article about Lindzen I linked to, there is no evidence to support your assertation.

"If you read the article about Lindzen I linked to, there is no evidence to support your assertation."

Lindzen is not credible. End of story.

nd:

Then I'm wasting my time talking to you. Oh well.

That's right Andrey, its all just a mafia conspiricy to rip you off. Us scientists are in for such rewards, I can't wait.

Actually Cervus Arnold and Blair have specifically made a reference to learning from the European experience in order to make this a whole lot more effective than Kyoto.

Also, as a scientist I just don't see it as plausible that all these peer reviewed papers get through via politics. I am not going to discuss the Wegman report since it has all been addressed by two House energy and commerce comittee meetings. See
http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2006/08/followup-to-the-hockeystick-hearings/

The problem with peak oil is that if it isn't as bad as some people think then coal emissions will make up for any reduced gasoline consumption. You have never answered how we will get around this problem given that sequestration is expensive. You have only suggested that climate change may not be as bad as many think. Well that's just too dangerous and unlikely a hypothesis to test in my opinion. The bottom line is that you can go on about how the issue is politicized (in the public arena how could it ever have not been, whether it is true or false!) but in reality it all boils down to an excuse to do nothing.

Marcus:

IMO, the Wegman Report has made Mann's credibility suspect. Now, there are other scientists in the field but the Hockey Stick itself was used in the 2001 IPCC Report, and Mann himself had a significant role in writing it. Seems like a conflict of interest to me.

I also have a problem when I see people running around warning of Doom and Catastrophe. Considering the dire ecological predictions (ie: The Population Bomb) I've read about over the past 40 years, and we're still here, so why should I believe you this time?

Face it, though. We're going to use the coal. Given peak oil, we really have no choice in the short to medium term. But coal is a finite resource as well, with the same peak production problems as oil has. You know Wall Street is already betting on $200 oil?

And I am hardly conseling doing nothing, just not for the same reasons as you. Instead, I propose to offer major tax incentives to alternative energy startups to lower risk to private investors. It's definately not an ideal choice for me, since I dislike goverment meddling. But it's far less odious than regressive carbon taxes or strict emission limits that will just shift them to places where there are none. You can bet they'll build powerplants in Mexico to meet California electricity demand. They're already building an LNG import terminal south of Tijuana because nobody wants one here... but we still need the natural gas (small carbon footprint, you know).

I just don't see how Ahnold and Blair's plans will address Kyoto's failings. I think this law will inflate energy costs and put more pressure on the poor and middle class especially. In response, people like me will look to move out of the state. In fact, I'm planning to do so next year. It's too expensive to live here already.

Cervus:

"I also have a problem when I see people running around warning of Doom and Catastrophe. Considering the dire ecological predictions (ie: The Population Bomb) I've read about over the past 40 years, and we're still here, so why should I believe you this time?"

After all of the posts of yours I have read over the last months it is apparent that you have fallen victim to the doom and gloom predictions of the more radical peak oil people. I should know because I also had the poop scared out of me by the same crowd. But the same attitude you advocate above should apply to the dire economic predictions of the peak oil people.

Don't let your fear of peak oil blind you to the possibility of global warming. Both potential problems are managable (usually with the same technology).

Neil:

I first encountered Peak Oil in June 2005. And I admit, it scared the crap out of me also and it was all I could think about for months. I went into a pretty deep depression as well. What that did, since I was in the market for a new car at the time, was push me to get the most fuel efficient car I could afford (A Corolla). I also got a Honda Reflex scooter a few months later, and I still have it.

Your point is taken. This is why I consider GreenFuel Tech's fuel algae to be hedging my bets as far as climate change is concerned. Given its massive yields, algae is the only biofuel source I found that has a hope of replacing oil. And since we're going to use the coal anyway we might as well use the carbon twice.

Cervus:

Regarding Mexico supplying power,

"in addition to the emissions cap, California lawmakers are poised to give final approval to related legislation. It would prohibit the state from entering long-term contracts with any out-of-state utility that fails to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions. The bill by Perata is awaiting an Assembly vote."

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2006/08/30/state/n143510D27.DTL&type=politics

So if passed this will mean major change. I am already on Green Power here in Pasadena. The costs are absolutely marginal. As you keep telling me, why not invest in the green industries if you are afraid that costs are going to go too high?

"I also have a problem when I see people running around warning of Doom and Catastrophe. Considering the dire ecological predictions (ie: The Population Bomb) I've read about over the past 40 years, and we're still here, so why should I believe you this time?"

What, you mean like peak oil?

Subsidies are ok but I think you have to have longer term security in relative prices to ensure a real change. Take hybrids. They've only become popular because of fuel price increases. If Toyota had simply been given subsidies in a low gas price world it all would have failed.

Cervus:
Once upon a time I worked with oil&gas industry in Soviet Union. At the time oil exploration and search for new oil fields were carried out by two separate ministries with separate budgets. Having long talks with oil search guys over big bottle of grain ethanol, I learned some things: they do not hurry to discover new oil reserves. Still they have proven oil reserves for 50 years. Usually they search for oil in close proximity to already existed oil exploration infrastructure. Since it is very expensive endeavor, no one in Western world, where oil exploration and search for new oil are carried out by same companies, would be insane enough to spend billions today to extend proven oil reserves beyond sane amount of time of about 30 years – and drive their current oil prices down. On my question where oil could be found guys gave me the answer : “Where do you need it?”.
I do not believe that oil will be cheap again. But I am quite skeptical to claims of catastrophic oil shortages anywhere in a half century. Enough time to move (at least partially) away of oil. As former minister of oil of Saudi Arabia said (very well understood why he become “former”) : “Stone age ended not because of scarcity of stones. Oil age will not end because of scarcity of oil too.”

Andrey.

Suggest that you go over to The Oil Drum and test out your theories with the people over there. See if they can stand up to the experts.

T.:
My point was that experts tend to promote oil scare scenario, which is quite understandable.

Why all the concern about the economy. The more money we spend, the more jobs and the better the GDP numbers. Therefore, if we increase costs by reducing CO2, the economy should improve -- whether we need to reduce CO2 or not. After all, wars make the economy look good by creating jobs and spending, and we don't camplain about them.

Remember the Y2K scare? "Experts" claimed that the world would fall appart at midnight December 31 1999? LOL, I know how to add 100 to a number. I know people that spent that night cringing in fear. My point is that the problem was over hyped in order to get people moving and get some headlines. Both Peak Oil and Global warming are a larger problems of the same kind. Both are solvable with some effort and timely intervension. Heck, in many cases the solution is a two for one deal. We could start a Peak Oil/Global warming consultancy firm and make a fortune. :)

In defense of Ehrlich,
The "Population Bomb" deals not only with food shortage, but also with other kinds of crises caused by rapid growth (globalisation?), expressing the possibility of disaster in broader terms. A "population bomb", as defined in the book, requires only three things:

* A rapid rate of change
* A limit of some sort
* Delays in perceiving the limit

Andrey:

"over big bottle of grain ethanol"

They drink grain alchohol in Russia?

I thought they were tough enough for wood alchohol. ;)

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