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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: California | Central Valley | Environment & Forest Defense | Government & Elections
Governor Jerry Brown in talks with Big Oil over carbon trading program
As protests against oil trains took place in Sacramento and across the nation took place last week, oil industry leaders, led by Catherine Reheis-Boyd, the President of the Western States Petroleum Association(WSPA), were talking with Brown administration officials In “hopes of reaching a consensus on extending California landmark climate change programs,” according to LA Times reporters Chris Megerian and Melanie Mason.
Photo: This banner, displayed at a rally against REDD and carbon trading in front of the EPA building in Sacramento on April 27, asks, "How can you buy and sell the sky?"
Governor Jerry Brown in talks with Big Oil over carbon trading program
by Dan Bacher
Jerry Brown, who frequently grandstands as an alleged “climate leader” and “green governor” at climate conferences and other photo opportunities in the U.S. and throughout the world, is, ironically, a big supporter of the expansion of fracking for crude oil in California.
That is not surprising when you consider that Brown’s “climate leadership” facade, continually promoted in press releases from the Governor’s Office and in puff pieces in the mainstream media, is based on the unjust, environmentally destructive neo-liberal policies of carbon trading and REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) programs.
As protests against oil trains took place in Sacramento and across the nation took place last week, oil industry leaders, led by Catherine Reheis-Boyd, the President of the Western States Petroleum Associationm(WSPA), were talking with Brown administration officials In “hopes of reaching a consensus on extending California landmark climate change programs,” according to LA Times reporters Chris Megerian and Melanie Mason. (http://touch.latimes.com/#section/-1/article/p2p-87785075/)
Reheis-Boyd told the Times that the industry is engaged in “ongoing talks with the administration to improve the state’s current climate change programs.”
“The behind-the-scenes conversations come at a time when Brown is searching for the best way to safeguard the cap-and-trade program, which requires companies to purchase permits in order to pollute and serves as the centerpiece of California’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” the Times said.
Indigenous and grassroots environmental and anti-corporate organizations throughout the world strongly oppose these “permits to pollute” and REDD programs that drive Governor Brown’s “climate change” and “green energy” policies. In fact, they believe that the talks to “improve the state’s current climate change programs,” as Reheis-Boyd claims, are likely to only make them worse.
At the end of his keynote address at the World Climate Summit in Paris on December 8, 2015, Indigenous leaders heckled Governor Jerry Brown, challenging him on his support of controversial carbon trading polices that represent “a new form of colonialism” that could potentially cause genocide. ( http://www.eastcountymagazine.org/indigenous-leaders-slam-jerry-brown-un-backing-potentially-genocidal-carbon-trading)
Brown had just finished his remarks when Penny Opal Plant of Idle No More San Francisco Bay lstood up and shouted, “Richmond, California says no to REDD and no to evacuating indigenous people from their forests. NO REDD!” Indigenous leaders and environmental activists in the room around her joined her in yelling, "NO REDD!"
"REDD is a carbon offset mechanism which privatizes the air that we breathe and uses forests, agriculture and water ecosystems in the Global South as sponges for industrialized countries pollution, instead of cutting emissions at source," summed up Tom Goldtooth, Executive Director of the Indigenous Environmental Network. "REDD brings trees, soil, and nature into a commodity trading system that may result in the largest land grab in history. It steals your future, lets polluters off the hook and is a new form of colonialism. NO to Privatization of Nature!”
More recently, a visiting Nigerian environmental and human rights advocate rallied alongside California residents on April 27 outside an Air Resources Control Board hearing in Sacramento to protest expanding the state’s cap-and-trade plan to include offset credits generated under the United Nations’ REDD program.
After the rally, Fyneface Dumnamene Fyneface attended the hearing to share the findings of Seeing REDD: Communities, Forests and Carbon Trading in Nigeria, a report he co-authored for the Nigerian NGO Social Action. This report documents the various human rights, land tenancy and economic justice concerns associated with REDD. (http://saction.org/books/SEEING_REDD.pdf)
“The pay-to-pollute scheme enables partner states and provinces in tropical regions to generate credits from their remaining tropical forests and to sell those credits to polluters in California to ostensibly 'offset' carbon emissions from the industrial burning of fossil fuels,” according to a joint news release from Friends of the Earth, the California Environmental Justice Alliance, PODER, Food and Water Watch and other groups. (http://www.dailykos.com/story/2016/04/28/1521159/-Nigerian-Environmental-and-Human-Rights-Advocate-Visits-Sacramento-to-Oppose-Expanding-Cap-and-Trade)
But fracking, carbon, trading and REDD are just a few of the many unjust environmental policies that the Brown administration supports, ranging from the salmon-killing Delta Tunnels Plan to the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative, funded by the Resources Legacy Fund Foundation.
Catherine Reheis-Boyd — the same Big Oil lobbyist now in talks with the Brown administration — chaired the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative Blue Ribbon Task Force to create so-called “marine protected areas" in Southern California. She also served on the task forces to craft “marine protected areas” on the Central Coast, North Central Coast and North Coast.
Celebrated by corporate “environmental” NGOs and state officials as the “most open, transparent and inclusive" process in California history, the process overseen by Reheis-Boyd and other corporate operatives in fact created faux “marine protected areas” that fail to protect the ocean from fracking, oil drilling, oil spills, pollution, corporate aquaculture, energy projects, military testing and all human impacts on the ocean other than sustainable fishing and gathering.
Big Oil is the biggest and most powerful corporate lobby in Sacramento — and the Western States Petroleum Association that Reheis-Boyd heads is the biggest and most powerful lobbying organization. Environmentalists contend that Big Oil, along with corporate agribusiness, developers, big water agencies, timber companies, and other Big Money interests, has captured the regulatory apparatus in California.
The oil industry, including WSPA, Chevron, Phillips 66, AERA Energy, Exxon and Shell, have spent more than $25 million so far in the 2015-16 legislative session. WSPA has spent $12.8 million so far in the session, making them, as usual, the top California lobbying spenders of the session. (http://www.oaklandmagazine.com/Big-Oil-Spends-Big-Money/)
For more information about the real environmental record of Governor JerryBrown, go to: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2016/3/25/1506146/-Govenor-Jerry-Brown-Celebrates-World-Water-Day-As-He-Promotes-Salmon-Killing-Delta-Tunnels
Environmental justice, conservation, indigenous and anti-corporate groups rallied against carbon trading and REDD in Sacramento. Photo by Dan Bacher.
Fyneface Dumnamene Fyneface, Nigerian environmental and human rights leader, speaks at a rally in late April at the EPA building in Sacramento before testifying before the Air Resources Control Board. Photo by Dan Bacher.
"We need real climate solutions, not false solutions like REDD." Photo by Dan Bacher.