Nine companies have been fined for filing late or inadequate reports about their greenhouse gas emissions as required by the state, California air regulators announced.
The companies included Exxon Mobil Corp., which was fined $120,000 for filing late and inaccurate data on its Torrance refinery and Pacific Gas & Electric Co., which agreed to pay $20,000 for delays in reporting emissions it generates as a natural gas supplier.
WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is making a second attempt to systematically account for the dollar damage from greenhouse gas pollution, even with no consensus on how to forestall global warming or whether to do so.
Supporters of the idea acknowledge the tremendous difficulties of trying to translate slippery estimates into a single mathematical factor, difficulties that perhaps help explain why there is little hope of consensus now on climate policy.
The new effort is an update to an estimate for the awkwardly named “Social Cost of Carbon,” a range of costs, stated in dollars per ton, that carbon dioxide emissions are thought to impose on future generations. When the government totes up costs and benefits for a variety of proposed regulations, the Social Cost of Carbon is plugged into the calculation to decide how to write the regulation.
The project was led by Dr. Veerabhadran Ramanathan of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego, in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. The study estimated that the black carbon reductions from air regulations also reduced carbon dioxide emissions by 21 million metric tons annually. That’s equivalent to removing more than 4 million cars from California’s roads every year.
Chevron is leading a lobbying and public relations campaign to weaken California’s low-carbon fuel standard, a law the oil company once supported.
Chevron pledged in 2007, the same year California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed the low-carbon fuel standard executive order, to develop a gasoline replacement from wood, Bloomberg reports.
A year later Chevron and forest products company Weyerhauser formed a joint venture, Catchlight Energy, to research and develop technology for converting cellulose-based biomass into economical, low-carbon biofuels.
If, as Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis claimed, states are the laboratories of democracy, then Mary Nichols is the Thomas Edison of environmentalism. Head of the California Air Resources Board (CARB), she has been a fierce champion of cutting-edge technology that is changing her state, a nation and the world.
This is actually Mary’s third turn at CARB. She served twice under then governor Jerry Brown, who held office from 1975 to 1982. She came back to CARB in 2007, preceding Brown’s return to the statehouse by four years. Prior to her most recent CARB stint, Mary worked at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.