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Comment 523 for 2022 Climate Change Scoping Plan (scopingplan2022) - Non-Reg.

First NameShoshana
Last NameWechsler
AffiliationSunflower Alliance
SubjectScoping Plan Comments


Dear Governor Newsom and the California Air Resources Board,


Tonight as I watch another beautiful sunset over San Francisco Bay, I can see the flaring begin at the Chevron Richmond refinery for a third night in a row.  At five miles away I can clearly track the orange flame leaping from its smokestacks.  The air is warm and heavy.  It’s the second day of summer, and fire season is encroaching.  I know I don’t have to spell out the connection. 


This scene perfectly captures the Californian duality: our status both as paradise and fossil fuel hell.


I am lucky enough to live a relatively safe distance from the refinery, but I’m also painfully aware that many Californians don’t have that luxury.  And none of us are spared the growing impacts of fossil fuel-induced climate change.


I want to join my voice with those environmental justice activists in CEJA who are pleading with you to take real climate leadership.  Direct emissions reduction is the only sane and effective approach, and we have been ducking that necessity for decades now, thanks to the outsized power of the oil industry. 


In its draft scoping plan, CARB somehow finds it far more feasible and reasonable to gamble on unproven and risky carbon removal technology (for which there is no regulatory apparatus in place) instead of scaling up renewables, which are proven antidotes to carbon pollution, and far cheaper in the long run.  Renewable are not “there” yet, you argue, and we need to maintain fossil fuel industry jobs.  But with an extraordinary state budget surplus, we could easily get them “there” by building out wind and solar to the required levels, while underwriting a massive transition of fossil fuel workers to early, secure retirement, retraining, etc.  Instead of experimenting with new, risky technologies, why not massively invest in a new electrical grid, decarbonize our buildings, incentivize vehicle electrification—especially for long-haul trucking—at a far larger scale than we are doing at present?  Why are we not planning for a gradual decommissioning of our oil refineries, instead of deferring to the lead of the industry and market vagaries?


The answer is clear:  Doubling down on CCS and CCUS in lieu of immediately pursuing every possible means of direct emissions reduction at the source merely provides the fossil fuel industry with a license to continue polluting and profiting.  This will cost countless lives and time we simply don’t have.  The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has told us that our best chance of keeping warming at or below 1.5°C should involve limited to no use of engineered carbon capture technologies.  It calls for a rapid phaseout of fossil fuels along with limited carbon removal by natural sources such as reforestation and enhanced soil carbon uptake.


California can and must do better.  Real climate leadership is not extending the life span of the industry that is killing us all.


Sincerely yours,


Shoshana Wechsler

Kensington, CA




Original File Name
Date and Time Comment Was Submitted 2022-06-22 23:07:17

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