Pages tagged "emissions"

APRIL Makes A Mockery Of Its Own "Sustainable" Forest Policy


Almost six months after the release of its Sustainable Forest Management Policy, Asia Pacific Resources International Ltd (APRIL)—the second-largest Indonesian pulp & paper company—continues business-as-usual rainforest destruction, betraying the spirit and substance of its policy.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported in May that APRIL-owned PT RAPP cleared massive swaths of carbon-rich peatlands on Pulau Padang, an island off the Sumatran coast that APRIL promised to help restore. Members of island community Desa Bagan Melibur have called on APRIL to terminate operations on their community land, and Desa Bagan Melibur’s May 17 protest is the most recent clash in a stark legacy of land disputes between APRIL and Padang’s thirteen villages since 2009.

Pulau Padang’s peatlands store millions of tons of carbon and are home to endangered species and communities that depend on these forests for their livelihoods. You could also say the island itself is endangered: decaying peat causes the low-lying island to subside, and scientists warn that if no action is taken, Padang may very well be under sea level and useless for any type of cultivation by 2050.

APRIL’s forest policy itself is rife with loopholes and allows APRIL to continue slashing natural forests in its concessions through December and source rainforest fiber until 2020. Yet the company’s refusal to uphold even its weak policy commitments brings APRIL’s intentions entirely into doubt. In addition to the Pulau Padang case, earlier this year, APRIL suppliers were caught clearing natural forests on legally protected peat land in Borneo and high conservation value forest on peat land in Riau. In the latter case, not only were internationally protected ramin trees cut down, but APRIL supplier PT Triomas allegedly attempted to hide the evidence by burying the contraband logs.

There is mounting recognition that APRIL’s policy and actions are insufficient and not credible. Last Friday, RAN and an international collation of allies co-authored a letter highlighting the severe shortcomings in APRIL’s policies, such as the lack of a moratorium on natural forest and peat land conversion, unclear commitments on resolving social conflicts, and the policy’s narrow scope, which does not extend to cover APRIL’s sister companies within owner Sukanto Tanoto’s rogue cartel of companies, such as Toba Pulp Lestari, Sateri, and Asian Agri. The letter also points to the inadequacy and questionable credibility of the Stakeholder Advisory Committee (SAC) APRIL set up to help develop, implement, and monitor the forest policy in a transparent and independent manner.

APRIL’s new policy and the SAC risk being nothing but a parade of environmental lip service built on teetering scaffolds of environmental destruction, social conflict, and corruption. Customers and financiers must cut ties with APRIL and other companies owned by Sukanto Tanoto and pressure APRIL to end rainforest clearing and respect community rights.

TAKE ACTION: Tell APRIL owner Sukanto Tanoto to stop pulping Pulau Padang’s rainforests.

Did You Hear The One About The Bank That Couldn't Count?

BoA_ActionLast week, Bank of America (BofA) admitted a huge accounting error—for several years, it claimed a whopping $4 billion more in capital than it actually has. The day BofA announced its blunder, its shares closed down more than six percent, the stock’s biggest drop in two years.

But BofA had to come clean. Regulators, shareholders and consumers need an accurate picture of banks' balance sheets.

BofA’s admission gives us a rare chance to raise a far bigger question: What else are they hiding?

It's time for BofA to be transparent about something much more vital to the future of the planet: just how much its investments contribute to climate change.

Tell Bank of America: Come clean on funding climate change!

I'm writing to you from BofA's Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Charlotte, North Carolina, where I'm about to speak in support of a crucial shareholder resolution. The Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility—backed by investors worth almost $35 billion—is pushing the bank to report on how much carbon pollution gets spewed into the atmosphere by the companies it funds.

BofA is a top funder of the biggest drivers of climate change: coal, oil, and gas corporations, as well as carbon–intensive electricity producers. But it's refusing to report on its financed carbon emissions. BofA knows that opening its books will create pressure to cut emissions by moving away from fossil fuels.

Now is the time to push BofA on climate change. Last week's accounting revelations were a big black eye, and at today's AGM, the bank needs to reassure its shareholders and customers that it doesn't have billions of dollars of climate liabilities on its books.

We need you to add your voice: Tell Bank of America to come clean on climate accounting!

Pushing for transparency is just the first step. We're also calling on BofA to cut its carbon pollution by stopping funding coal, the top contributor to climate change. I'll be making that call here at the AGM in just a few minutes, and ally organizations will speak to coal's cost beyond climate: mountains with their tops blown off in West Virginia, rivers wrecked by coal ash here in North Carolina, and human rights abuses by coal company security forces in Colombia.

Will you stand with us? Tell BofA that today's the day to come clean on funding climate change—and to cut its emissions by ending coal financing.

Walmart: King of Greenwash

walmart_greenwash_frntThis week I have watched in horror as one of the most powerful storms ever recorded slammed into the Philippines. Fueled by a warming ocean, Typhoon Haiyan has killed an estimated 10,000 people, while hundreds of thousands have been displaced. It’s a stark reminder that climate change is happening now, that we need to act urgently to stem the extreme impacts of global warming. We need leadership from our politicians and a dramatic change in behavior from our biggest polluters. So when companies like Walmart talk about their responsibility to act to address climate change, I absolutely agree. The stakes are already too high. Walmart calls itself a leader in global environmental responsibility, but when you take a look at the real picture the halo quickly fades, as a new report out today from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance reveals. Since 2005 the company has invested millions to promote itself as an environmental champion. Perhaps you have seen their ads with wind turbines and sunshines, designed to illustrate a ‘green’ Walmart? [youtube Iwvy8I_uukw 550] The harsh reality is that, far from reducing its global climate impact, Walmart’s pollution is on the rise. And dramatically so. Walmart’s own reported climate emissions have grown 14% since the company launched its sustainability campaign in 2005. That step backwards is even after some selective reporting. Walmart chooses to ignore its biggest impacts, including the emissions in its supply chain and in its big-box retail store expansion. In fact, if Walmart were included in the Greenhouse 100 Polluters Index, a list that is limited to heavy industry firms such as oil companies and power plants, Walmart would rank at #33, alongside Chevron. But what about those wind turbines and sunshine-powered solar panels? In 2005, Walmart announced an aspirational goal to use 100% renewable energy. Back then this sounded ambitious. But fast forward to 2013 and there are competitor companies, like Whole Foods, Staples and Kohl’s, that are hitting this target and sourcing all of their electricity from renewable sources. Meanwhile, Walmart? Seriously lagging the leaders at a miserly 4%, which is even less than Best Buy. In fact, Walmart’s use of renewable energy overall declined in 2012. [youtube qnkGF5Xx3uw 550] Behind all of Walmart’s slick greenwashing is a business model that is fundamentally unsustainable. And that is why Rainforest Action Network supports Walmart workers’ efforts to reform this company and force it to start putting people ahead of its bottom line. From worker safety to global environmental responsibility, this company has a long way to go. If you want to learn more, read this open letter from leading environmentalists calling for change at Walmart.

APP: The Most Destructive Company in the World?

Deforestation in IndonesiaThe UK Guardian once referred to Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) as “one of the most destructive companies on the planet.” The following is a brief synopsis of why that description fits.

A History of Bad Practices and Broken Promises

Over 2 million hectares of rainforest have already been destroyed in Indonesia to feed the pulp and paper sector and its Sumatra-based mega mills. APP is the largest pulp and paper company in Indonesia and China and is the leading beneficiary of the ongoing, wholesale pulping of Indonesia’s rainforests. The devastating effects of all this plundering includes widespread human rights violations, massive carbon emissions and the destruction of habitat essential for the survival of critically endangered Sumatran tigers and orangutans.

Stopping Rainforest Destruction?

APP repeatedly promises investors, customers, environmentalists and the public that it will end its dependence on rainforest wood for its paper—but not just yet. APP has consistently failed to meet its deadlines to eliminate rainforest wood from its pulp mills, first set for 2004, then moved to 2007, then revised to 2009, and most recently suggested for 2015.

Honoring Financial Agreements?

In 2004, APP promised to protect High Conservation Value Forests (HCVFs) and reach “full sustainability” as part of a legally binding US$6 billion debt “Master Restructuring Agreement” with Western financial institutions and Export Credit Agencies. As of March 2012, APP still remains in gross violation of this agreement.

Addressing Community Conflict?

With land concessions totaling an area eight times larger than all of Rio de Janeiro, APP’s pulp plantation expansion plans are fueling widespread conflict with local communities in Indonesia. In one of the most shocking cases, in late 2010 dozens of persons from one Sumatran community blocked barges with equipment used in pulp operations on their claimed lands in protest of their rights to community forest lands being given over to APP for pulp plantations. This conflict resulted in police violence and one fatality.

Avoiding Illegal Logging?

Indonesia’s Ministry of Environment has recently revealed plans to sue APP for illegal logging. The lawsuit is seeking $225 billion for social and environmental damages. As much as half of all harvested wood in Indonesia is estimated to be illegal. A recent 2012 investigation found illegal ramin wood fiber being used in APP’s products.

Protecting the Climate?

By ignoring major emissions from deforestation and peat and disingenuously counting its plantations as carbon sinks, APP claims to have a positive impact on the climate. A comprehensive accounting, however, shows APP in Indonesia to be responsible for total carbon emissions at levels higher than most countries, including Denmark. Far from being positive for the climate, APP-produced paper has a climate impact that is 55-70 times higher per ton than recycled paper available in North America.

Supporting Tiger Conservation?

There are only 400 Sumatran tigers left in the wild. Their survival depends on conserving what remains of their critical rainforest habitat. Nonetheless, even as APP promises to protect tigers, clearance of tiger habitat to feed APP’s pulp and paper mills is well documented. Asia Pulp & Paper’s egregious forest practices have alienated major consumer brand companies around the world, including Danone, Office Depot, Levi’s and many others who will not buy from APP.

Financed emissions: A big problem for banks, and a bigger problem for the climate

What is the total greenhouse gas footprint of Citigroup, Bank of America, or UBS? Right now, we don’t know, and that’s a major problem for both banks and the climate. Banks emit greenhouse gases to power their offices and branches, but they also finance the emissions of other companies through their loans, investments, and other financial services. Our best estimates indicate that these “financed emissions” dwarf a bank’s emissions from other sources, yet banks currently lack the tools to measure this critical but overlooked component of a bank’s greenhouse gas footprint. Time is Running out to Reduce Bank Carbon Footprints In a report released by Rainforest Action Network’s Energy and Finance Program today, "Bankrolling Climate Disruption: The Impacts of the Banking Sector’s Financed Emissions” (PDF), we analyze the consequences of financed emissions for the climate and the risks they pose for banks. Rising concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere have begun to disrupt the global climate, triggering extreme weather events around the globe in recent years. To address this growing climate crisis, the global economy must rapidly transition to low-carbon energy sources. This transition poses major challenges for the banking sector, which will need to shift its financing from fossil fuel-based power sources to low-carbon energy infrastructure. To date, major global banks have been moving in the wrong direction on climate. A report by the BankTrack network of NGOs (PDF) found that the world’s 93 largest banks' financial commitments to coal mining and coal-fired power generation nearly doubled between 2005 and 2010. Unfortunately, time is running out for banks to decarbonize their financing portfolios. By the end of the decade, locked-in emissions from new infrastructure will make it impossible to limit atmospheric CO2 concentrations below the critical threshold of 450 parts per million, making catastrophic climate change inevitable. In addition to putting the global climate at risk, a bank’s financed emissions also expose it to reputational risks from an increasingly climate-aware public. Over the long term, banks that fail to measure and reduce their financed emissions will face financial risks from their financing relationships with coal-fired utilities, oil and gas producers, and other companies that face an uncertain future in a carbon-constrained economy. New Tools for Measuring Financed Emissions Fortunately, the Greenhouse Gas Protocol has developed new guidelines for calculating financed emissions that provide key tools for banks to measure their financed emissions footprints. And public sector institutions such as the U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corporation have already led the way for their private sector counterparts by setting targets to reduce emissions from their financing portfolios. Major U.S. banks have taken some positive steps on climate change, such as committing over $100 billion in loans and investments to environmentally beneficial projects over the next decade. However, banks have not actually measured the net greenhouse gas impacts achieved by these commitments. To differentiate themselves from their peers and demonstrate that these green financing is having an impact, banks must measure the bottom-line climate outcomes of both their environmental lending initiatives and their broader financing portfolio. Next Steps for Banks RAN’s report recommends that banks participate in an upcoming multi-stakeholder initiative coordinated by the Greenhouse Gas Protocol to finalize tools for banks to measure the climate impacts of their financing activities. In addition to participating, banks should also set aggressive reduction targets for their financed emissions to align with the 450 ppm greenhouse gas stabilization target. Could banks put these recommendations into practice quickly enough to make a difference for the climate? Let’s hope so. The report’s recommended financed emissions reduction trajectory for banks represents the minimum reductions necessary to align banks with an emissions trajectory that will stay within the world’s dwindling budget of carbon that can safely be emitted through mid-century. As Bill McKibben, the Carbon Tracker Initiative, and others have noted, this global carbon budget leaves precious little room for error if the world is to avert catastrophic climate change, making it incumbent on banks to address their financed emissions as soon as possible.

A Legal Setback for Clean Air and a New Chance to Fight Soot Pollution

Bad news for American hearts and lungs: Last week, a federal circuit court struck down a proposed EPA clean air standard that would have reduced dangerous emissions from coal-fired power plants and other sources. In a 2-1 decision, the court ruled that the EPA’s proposed Cross State Air Pollution Rule, or “Transport Rule” (PDF), exceeded the agency’s authority under the federal Clean Air Act. If enacted, the rule would have required states to reduce power plant emissions of sulfur and nitrogen oxides, which contribute to ozone and soot (a.k.a. particulate) pollution. These pollutants pose serious risks to heart and lung health, particularly for seniors, children, and individuals with asthma or heart conditions. According to the EPA’s estimates, the Transport Rule would have eliminated emissions responsible for 13,000 to 34,000 premature deaths, 15,000 nonfatal heart attacks, and 400,000 asthma attacks each year. Power plant upgrades and other compliance expenses associated with the rule would have cost $1.6 billion annually. In contrast, the rule would have resulted in annual health benefits of between $120 and $280 billion. As the Natural Resources Defense Council noted, if the circuit court’s decision holds up on appeal, it will result in years of delay for critical air quality standards. What You Can Do: Tell the EPA to Tighten Soot Standards While the court ruling on the Transport Rule was a setback for clean air, the EPA is considering another important rule change for airborne pollutants. The proposed change would tighten clean air standards for soot pollution. If adopted, the new standards would prevent 4,650-8,100 premature deaths annually and yield $2.3 billion to $5.9 billion in health benefits (with annual compliance costs of only $69 million). The EPA’s comment period for the rule ends this Friday, August 31st. Like the Transport Rule, this proposed change would protect the air, save lives, and avoid billions of dollars in health care costs. The coal industry and other heavy emitters have demonstrated that they will fight hard against air quality regulations, but a clear demonstration of public support for the change will put pressure on the EPA to set tough new standards to protect our health and the environment. Please take a few seconds to submit a comment to the EPA in support of stronger soot standards.

What Do Environmentalists And Animal Rights Activists Have In Common?

[caption id="attachment_14597" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Less than 400 critically endangered Sumatran tigers remain in the wild. No more habitat deforestation for palm oil & paper!"]Sumatran tiger[/caption] What do the environmental and animal rights movements have in common? More than you might think, including a profound love of certain vegan products that mark an intersection of our work to create a more just and sustainable future for all of Earth's inhabitants. This past weekend I had the pleasure of participating in a keynote panel at the close of the 2011 National Animal Rights Conference in Los Angeles. Every seat in the large ballroom was taken by a dedicated animal rights activist, even though it was late on a Sunday evening. Prior to the presentation, as I walked past tables and booths and chatted with people, I was inspired by the many folks I met who have dedicated so much of their time and energy to their values and beliefs. I had been asked to speak on a panel about bridges between the animal rights and environmental movements. Also on the panel were Taryn Kiekow, a lawyer with Natural Resources Defense Council, and Dr. Rose Marie White, Southern California Endangered Species chair of the Sierra Club. Taryn spoke about NRDC's work to protect whales, and Rose Marie talked about how struggles to protect land are also struggles to protect the incredible species of wildlife that reside there. George Shea, who hosted the keynote panel, spoke in his introductory comments about the paramount issue of climate change, and it's connection to species extinction risks, thus situating climate change as a primary issue of animal rights. In my presentation, I echoed George's concerns of climate change's risk of driving extinction, and of the right of animals to exist. I focused my analysis through the lens of deforestation. Indonesia's rainforests are home to incredible, majestic, and endangered creatures such as the orangutan and Sumatran tiger. Currently, Indonesia's rapid pace of deforestation has made the country the world's 3rd largest greenhouse gas emitter behind the US and China. That's right: Not only does rainforest destruction directly threaten the habitat of wildlife, it also releases more greenhouse gases than all of the cars, trains, planes, and trucks in the U.S. combined! Exacerbating climate change will only further endanger all of us, including our animal relatives. Animal rights , environmental, social justice and climate justice activism all have significant reasons to confront the drivers of deforestation in Indonesia. This issue is a major intersection in our movements. It was incredible to name those drivers of deforestation in my presentation: pulp and paper and palm oil plantation expansion. Many people in the room already know about Cargill, the largest privately owned corporation in the world, and the #1 importer of palm oil in the United States. Cargill has long been on the animal rights sh*t-list because of their inhumane profit model in the cattle industry. Now animal rights activists have another reason to work to stop Cargill from practicing business as usual: The company has no commitments to change its palm oil supply chain in time to save Sumatran tigers and orangutans. cargill logo jam You can take action by signing our petition to Cargill right now. Then, call Cargill and tell CEO Gregory Page exactly what you think about their palm oil problem: 1-800-CARGILL (1-800-227-4455). [caption id="attachment_14598" align="alignleft" width="150" caption="Earth Balance vegan buttery spread contains palm oil sourced from RSPO-members. Not enough. "][/caption] What came as a surprise to some and an ironic twist to others is the fact that palm oil is in some of our most beloved vegan products, including Earth Balance vegan buttery spread. OH THE SALTY TEARS! While Earth Balance knows its consumers enough to have a palm oil statement on its homepage, the company is still standing behind sourcing from Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) members. Membership is not certification. My mom could join the RSPO for $3,000. Just kidding. Kind of. But seriously, read RAN Agribusiness Campaigner Ashley Schaeffer's blog about the RSPO Membership Myth. Earth Balance needs to only source RSPO-certified palm oil, RSPO-member-supplied is NOT enough for the expectations of a vegan consumer base. Vegans and animal rights activists have made inspiring, courageous choices to live by their values. Palm oil ending up in vegan products that are causing orangutan extinction is a time bomb in consumer advocacy that vegan product suppliers would be wise to address rather than avoid. And we know animal rights advocates are not going to settle for anything other than real solutions. After the talk, I was inspired by how many people were so excited to get involved, to take action, and to learn more. By strategically aligning our movements where our issues overlap, we can make significant strides in protecting rainforests, the creatures that depend on this habitat, and keeping our climate stable. In this way, we are bridging our movements around focused strategy and solutions, and this is an issue we will WIN!

Fruit Pollutes More Than Coal?

[caption id="attachment_11256" align="alignright" width="300" caption="A palm oil mill effluent pond in West Kalimantan, Borneo. RAN’s Rainforest Agribusiness team spent three weeks last fall visiting some of Indonesia’s most controversial palm oil plantations. Click the photo to see more pics from the trip."]Borneo destruction[/caption] It may seem like a silly question: Can fruit cause more pollution than coal? But from the perspective of Indonesian waterways, the answer is most certainly yes. According to Mukri Friatna, head of advocacy for WALHI (Friends of the Earth Indonesia), “Oil palm plantations ranked first as producers of pollutants, followed by mining companies.” WALHI released a report detailing its findings this past December. This isn’t the first time that palm plantations and mining corporations have been in competition for the top spot on the list of environmental wrongdoers. As we witnessed while traveling through Borneo, palm and mining joint ventures join hands to plow down rainforests. Any jungle that has the misfortune of growing atop coal, gold, and boxite reserves is liable to be “removed” to make room for massive mining operations. Once the valuable materials have been extracted, the dusty and nutrient-depleted soil is filled in and palm monocultures begin to expand across great expanses that were once tropical rainforests. None of which excuses the coal mining industry for anything. WALHI’s findings reveal that while oil palm plantations are responsible for having polluted 31 of Indonesia’s rivers, coal companies dumped toxic waste and other dangerous waste products in 19 more. So even though palm plantations are the undisputed champion of poisoning Indonesia’s watercourses, coal mining is still a serious contender.

The Profits Over People Pattern

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="159" caption="Cofán community member Donald investigates one of the many unlined, open-air oil waste pits Chevron left in his rainforest home in Ecuador."]Oil pollution in the rainforest[/caption] In what has become something of a pattern, the Obama administration recently took a bold new step to protect our planet at the same time that it was taking a giant step backwards. Hot on the heels of the announcement about the EPA’s plans to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from oil refineries and fossil-fueled power plants, we get word that the administration is allowing 13 oil companies to resume offshore drilling operations without any further environmental review. Speaking of patterns: Remember how Chevron recently had three oil spills in the space of one week? Well, several members just walked out of the community advisory committee set up to deal with the fallout from one of those spills, the one that occurred in Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada. One of the community members who resigned from the committee says that the decision to walk out was prompted by Chevron’s deliberate attempts to hide the extent of the ongoing spill. “What [Chevron] told us and what are in the pictures are two different things. I totally lost my trust,” she says. Let’s see, Chevron polluting a community, pretending to work to remediate the pollution and impacts on the local community but actually trying to downplay the extent of the problem and having no real desire to clean anything up because that might adversely impact the company’s bottom line… Where have we seen that before? Oh right! That’s pretty much the same story as down in Ecuador. It almost seems like everywhere Chevron goes, there is pollution caused by its operations that the company refuses to take responsibility for. Just ask the people of Salt Lake City, UT or Richmond, CA or Pascagoula, MS. It bears mentioning, therefore, that Chevron is among the 13 oil companies that have just been given the green light to resume drilling without performing a thorough assessment of the environmental impacts of a spill — even though the Obama administration vowed that it would not allow drilling to resume until it was guaranteed to be safer and less likely to catastrophically pollute our planet, and Obama’s own National Commission just released a report finding that without fundamentally reworking the regulatory framework, a catastrophe like the BP oil spill could happen again. Putting aside the obvious fact that the oil business can never guarantee it won’t poison our planet because the oil business is just inherently dirty through and through, it seems like the least the administration could have done would have been to demand a thorough environmental review before the likes of Chevron gets the green light to resume its reckless operations. It’s not a matter of if there’s another oil spill, but when — and why shouldn’t we expect the responsible party to have a legitimate plan in place for dealing with the next spill? But hey, it’s another pattern: American politicians caving to powerful corporate interests who put profits over the planet.

Chevron And The Bittersweet California Election Results

[caption id="attachment_1448" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Have you voted for your favorite spoof Chevron ad yet?"]Chevron spoof poster: Oil companies should respect democratic institutions, not run them[/caption] November 3rd was a bittersweet day. The day after the midterm elections, we found out that Prop 23 — the so-called “Dirty Energy Proposition” that was funded by Texas oil companies Valero and Tesoro along with the billionaire oilmen Koch brothers — had gone down in flames, which was most certainly good news. But Prop 26, Chevron’s stealth attack against California’s environmental regulations, had snuck through. There’s room for debate about what Prop 26 will mean for California’s global warming law, AB32. There was some fear before the election that it could be even more damaging than Prop 23, which would have suspended implementation of the state’s landmark climate bill indefinitely. On the other hand, Mary Nichols of the California Air Resources Board has since said that all plans and regulations under AB32 are “on track” despite passage of Prop 26. But one thing is indisputable: Prop 26 will make it harder to hold California’s biggest polluters accountable in the future — and that’s exactly what Chevron was counting on when donating $4 million to help pass it. The company’s California refineries in Richmond and El Segundo are two of the top ten biggest emitters of industrial carbon pollution in the state. Currently, these types of dirty, polluting operations are charged fees by the government in order to pay for the social and environmental damage they cause. Prop 26 reclassified all those fees as taxes, however, so they now require a two-thirds vote in the state Senate in order to be passed. And as we all know, there is no getting certain legislators to vote for anything called a “tax” no matter how necessary it may be to ensure clean air, drinkable water, and healthy communities. This is exactly the reason why Chevron tried to keep its support for Prop 26 quiet — the company knew damn well that Californians would reject its attempt to evade paying its fair share for its pollution. Because not only does Prop 26 make it harder for the state to hold Chevron accountable for its pollution, it also ensures that the taxpayers of California are now going to have to foot the bill Chevron refuses to pay. For the record, this is a company that made $167 billion in profits last year. Of course, the company also pollutes. A LOT. Its Richmond and El Segundo refineries emitted nearly 4.8 and 3.6 million tons of greenhouse gas pollution in 2008, respectively, making them the 6th and 9th biggest industrial sources of emissions in the state. The Richmond refinery emits the equivalent of the carbon emitted annually by 926,725 cars, the El Segundo refinery the equivalent of 696,863.0324 cars (based on this conversion rate). And the fine people of California will now be paying for the impacts those emissions have on the environment, because Chevron refuses to clean up after itself in California, just as it refuses to clean up its mess in Ecuador. But there is still reason to find some comfort in the election results. Defeating Prop 23 wasn’t the only victory on November 2nd: Richmond’s Green Party mayor, Gayle McGlaughlin, was returned to office despite a million-dollar smear campaign run against her by — you guessed it! — Chevron. Given the amount of pollution Chevron’s Richmond refinery is responsible for, it’s probably no wonder that McGlaughlin, the Richmond Progressive Alliance, and other allies were able to beat back the Big Oil behemoth. The election results were most definitely a mixed bag. But we can all take heart from the successful mobilizations against Big Oil’s attempts to railroad California’s energy and environmental policies. The local mobilization against Chevron in Richmond and the statewide mobilization against Prop 23 show that the people still have the power when they choose to exercise it. Chevron’s $4 million support for Prop 26 really puts the lie to their bogus new greenwash campaign. The company thinks we’re stupid enough to believe it’s a responsible corporate citizen even while it refuses to take responsibility for its pollution in Richmond and Ecuador and is actively seeking to forestall any attempts to make the company pay for the environmental damage it has done. Luckily we have just the place for you to vent your frustration with Chevron’s greenwash.

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