Dirty Energy Money Behind the Push to Frack California
A satirical online video featuring Gov. Brown (D-CA) was released yesterday by Oil Change International, highlighting the Governor's penchant for fracking and dirty energy campaign donations. The video is the latest from the Big Oil Brown campaign effort which is pushing for a ban on fracking in California.
The video parody, Frack Water, portrays a Gov. Brown look-alike outside a southern California oil field accompanied by an oil industry representative in a shot-for-shot remake of the 2004 Stetson cologne advertisement starring Matthew McConaughey.
In the video the narrator says, “In a land plagued by drought, one man stands tall … We won’t tell you what’s in it, but Big Oil Brown’s got it all over him … Jerry Brown’s frackwater. A fragrance that smells like a man … a man who doesn’t give a [bleep] about drought or climate change.”
Big Oil Brown
Oil Change International, in their new campaign, has outlined massive contributions from the oil industry to the Governor and other elected officials in recent years. The review shows that Gov. Brown has accepted at least $2,014,570.22 from fossil fuel interests since his race for Attorney General in 2006.
Amongst other revelations (such as, who is behind initiatives like Proposition 30 as well as the Governor's charter schools), the analysis shows Gov. Brown is already collecting for his 2014 re-election bid. There are still months until the primary and already Big Oil has made some big contributions:
- Occidental has given $27,200—the maximum legally allowed.
- Edison and Chevron have both given $27,200 TWICE, once for the primary election and another for the general election—a nice little loophole that lets them double their effective contribution limit.
- Phillips 66, another oil company, has nearly maxed out with a $25,000 contribution.
The running total for just these four companies stands at $161,000 as of now for the 2014 election cycle.
“You can’t buy back your legacy, Governor, even with all that Big Oil cash,” David Turnbull, campaigns director for Oil Change International said. “California is on the brink of climate catastrophe and fracking up the state will help push it over the edge. Californians deserve better than to be beholden to Big Oil’s desires and befouled by their stench.”
As the public awakens to the dangers of fracking in California—including water scarcity concerns, environmental pollution and public health impacts—it is becoming increasingly obvious that Gov. Brown is being influenced by an industry that cares only about profit, not what’s best for Californians.
The video and analysis come just before a major mobilization in Sacramento, CA, planned for March 15, where thousands of anti-fracking activists from around the state are expected to join in protest.
Visit EcoWatch’s FRACKING page for more related news on this topic.
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The speed and scale of the response to COVID-19 by governments, businesses and individuals seems to provide hope that we can react to the climate change crisis in a similarly decisive manner - but history tells us that humans do not react to slow-moving and distant threats.
A Game of Jenga<p>Think of it as a game of Jenga and the planet's climate system as the tower. For generations, we have been slowly removing blocks. But at some point, we will remove a pivotal block, such as the collapse of one of the major global ocean circulation systems, for example the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), that will cause all or part of the global climate system to fall into a planetary emergency.</p><p>But worse still, it could cause runaway damage: Where the tipping points form a domino-like cascade, where breaching one triggers breaches of others, creating an unstoppable shift to a radically and swiftly changing climate.</p><p>One of the most concerning tipping points is mass methane release. Methane can be found in deep freeze storage within permafrost and at the bottom of the deepest oceans in the form of methane hydrates. But rising sea and air temperatures are beginning to thaw these stores of methane.</p><p>This would release a powerful greenhouse gas into the atmosphere, 30-times more potent than carbon dioxide as a global warming agent. This would drastically increase temperatures and rush us towards the breach of other tipping points.</p><p>This could include the acceleration of ice thaw on all three of the globe's large, land-based ice sheets – Greenland, West Antarctica and the Wilkes Basin in East Antarctica. The potential collapse of the West Antarctic ice sheet is seen as a key tipping point, as its loss could eventually <a href="https://science.sciencemag.org/content/324/5929/901" target="_blank">raise global sea levels by 3.3 meters</a> with important regional variations.</p><p>More than that, we would be on the irreversible path to full land-ice melt, causing sea levels to rise by up to 30 meters, roughly at the rate of two meters per century, or maybe faster. Just look at the raised beaches around the world, at the last high stand of global sea level, at the end of the Pleistocene period around 120,0000 years ago, to see the evidence of such a warm world, which was just 2°C warmer than the present day.</p>
Cutting Off Circulation<p>As well as devastating low-lying and coastal areas around the world, melting polar ice could set off another tipping point: a disablement to the AMOC.</p><p>This circulation system drives a northward flow of warm, salty water on the upper layers of the ocean from the tropics to the northeast Atlantic region, and a southward flow of cold water deep in the ocean.</p><p>The ocean conveyor belt has a major effect on the climate, seasonal cycles and temperature in western and northern Europe. It means the region is warmer than other areas of similar latitude.</p><p>But melting ice from the Greenland ice sheet could threaten the AMOC system. It would dilute the salty sea water in the north Atlantic, making the water lighter and less able or unable to sink. This would slow the engine that drives this ocean circulation.</p><p><a href="https://www.carbonbrief.org/atlantic-conveyor-belt-has-slowed-15-per-cent-since-mid-twentieth-century" target="_blank">Recent research</a> suggests the AMOC has already weakened by around 15% since the middle of the 20th century. If this continues, it could have a major impact on the climate of the northern hemisphere, but particularly Europe. It may even lead to the <a href="https://ore.exeter.ac.uk/repository/handle/10871/39731?show=full" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">cessation of arable farming</a> in the UK, for instance.</p><p>It may also reduce rainfall over the Amazon basin, impact the monsoon systems in Asia and, by bringing warm waters into the Southern Ocean, further destabilize ice in Antarctica and accelerate global sea level rise.</p>
The Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation has a major effect on the climate. Praetorius (2018)
Is it Time to Declare a Climate Emergency?<p>At what stage, and at what rise in global temperatures, will these tipping points be reached? No one is entirely sure. It may take centuries, millennia or it could be imminent.</p><p>But as COVID-19 taught us, we need to prepare for the expected. We were aware of the risk of a pandemic. We also knew that we were not sufficiently prepared. But we didn't act in a meaningful manner. Thankfully, we have been able to fast-track the production of vaccines to combat COVID-19. But there is no vaccine for climate change once we have passed these tipping points.</p><p><a href="https://www.weforum.org/reports/the-global-risks-report-2021" target="_blank">We need to act now on our climate</a>. Act like these tipping points are imminent. And stop thinking of climate change as a slow-moving, long-term threat that enables us to kick the problem down the road and let future generations deal with it. We must take immediate action to reduce global warming and fulfill our commitments to the <a href="https://www.ipcc.ch/sr15/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Paris Agreement</a>, and build resilience with these tipping points in mind.</p><p>We need to plan now to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, but we also need to plan for the impacts, such as the ability to feed everyone on the planet, develop plans to manage flood risk, as well as manage the social and geopolitical impacts of human migrations that will be a consequence of fight or flight decisions.</p><p>Breaching these tipping points would be cataclysmic and potentially far more devastating than COVID-19. Some may not enjoy hearing these messages, or consider them to be in the realm of science fiction. But if it injects a sense of urgency to make us respond to climate change like we have done to the pandemic, then we must talk more about what has happened before and will happen again.</p><p>Otherwise we will continue playing Jenga with our planet. And ultimately, there will only be one loser – us.</p>
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