With all the rhetoric in the press and Sacramento on the crusade to reduce emissions, let’s examine the choices and initiate discussions about the impacts on the L.A. and California economies and environment.
There are hard choices we and future generations need to make in order to meet the energy demands of the world’s sixth largest economy while simultaneously pursuing an arbitrary mandate to reduce to virtually zero the mere 1 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions originating in California.
Choices for meeting our energy needs: All the manufactured fuels are now made in state by the few and most environmentally conscious manufacturers in the world, most of which are in Los Angeles County. California is an energy island, with the Sierra Mountains on one side and the Pacific Ocean on the other, thus, there are no pipelines into the state from the rest of the country.
The green crusaders wishing to shut down the California oil industry would be depriving the airports of the 10 million gallons of jet fuel required every day to keep the airline industry running smoothly, resulting in an international economic crisis. In addition, the 97 percent of our 32 million vehicles that run on conventional transportation fuels would be deprived of the 40 million gallons of fuel being consumed every day, also resulting in a world economic crisis.
Perhaps nowhere will those impacts be more harshly felt than in the L.A. area. Not only are Angelenos among the largest consumers of fossil fuels in the state, Los Angeles is home to several refineries and two large ports from which incoming goods are transported by truck and rail to markets throughout California.
There are also choices related to the sources of the crude oil to meet needs of the manufacturers to meet the energy demands of California. In 1980, in-state production and imports from Alaska provided 94 percent of California’s crude oil needs. Over the last 30-plus years, imports from Alaska and in-state production have been declining, to the point that those sources are less than half of our needs. Today, more than 50 percent is imported from foreign countries, about 1 million barrels a day of crude oil.
Even though America has more recoverable oil and natural gas supplies than Saudi Arabia, Iran, Russia, China, and all of the OPEC nations combined, the California Energy Island has no access to the growth in domestic oil production, other than crude by rail or by increasing in-state crude oil production back to levels attained in 1980.
The emissions crusade also raises issues of transparency. The California go-it-alone emissions crusade has already raised $7 billion in fees over the last 10 years from our citizens’ pocketbooks that are appropriated to more than 20 government pet projects. However, according to the California Energy Commission, the state contributes a miniscule 1 percent to the world’s greenhouse gases – the same contribution as when AB32 was signed into law a decade ago. The cap-and-trade program has had little to no impact on the reduction of California’s contributions to global greenhouse gas emissions, but it continues to hit the pocketbooks of its financially challenged citizens.
In summary, we are faced with lots of choices:
1) Manufacture our transportation fuels and airline jet fuels in state, or import them to meet California’s energy island needs.
2) Continue increasing our crude oil imports from foreign countries into California ports, access the country’s huge crude oil reserves by rail, or increase in-state production back to levels attained in 1980.
3) Continue paying for the emissions crusade that has done little to reduce California’s contribution to the worlds’ greenhouse gasses or seek transparency from the California Air Resources Board if any progress is being made to reduce our 1 percent contribution.
Without transportation fuels for our automobiles and trucks, jet fuel for the airline industry, and those “chemical ingredients” contributed by fossil fuels, we would be reverting back to the pre-1900 horse-and-buggy days for our transportation systems, increasing infant mortality, reducing life expectancies, and relying on the “snake oil” pitchmen for our health care system.
Hopefully, L.A.’s elected representatives in Sacramento will take off their green-tinted glasses long enough to exercise their oversight responsibilities and demand some common-sense analysis before allowing CARB to proceed with a climate change agenda that costs so much yet delivers so little.
Ronald Stein is founder of PTS Staffing Solutions, a technical staffing agency headquartered in Irvine.
For reprint and licensing requests for this article, CLICK HERE.