A 12-Step Program for Chevron 

Here is what Chevron could do to move beyond business as usual and truly set an example for the rest of the oil industry.

1: Instead of seeking to invest $2 billion to allow its Richmond refinery to process tar sands and other forms of dirtier crude, perhaps Chevron should first invest some portion of this sum into upgrading this refinery into a state-of-the-art facility, and then see if there is a way to process dirtier forms of crude oil without increasing risks to the citizens of Richmond and without making major contributions to global climate change.

2: Use its Chevron Energy Solutions subsidiary to foster good relations in the communities it operates, hiring locally to install solar photovoltaic and energy efficiency systems. Work with Solar Richmond in Richmond and design a solar power plan to offset any new refinery emissions through greater penetrations of solar photovoltaic throughout Contra Costa County, but especially in Richmond.

3: Try to settle with the Ecuador government and courts for an amount that adequately supports on-the-ground solutions to the serious environmental and health challenges facing Amazon villagers impacted by oil operations. Work out a long-term plan to address the most egregious environmental impacts of these legacy sites. Why not develop cleanup technologies that could be tested there and then deployed by other oil companies with similar legacy sites?

4: Use Burma as a stepping stone to call for greater transparency in tracking where oil revenues go, becoming the first oil company to endorse the concept of "publish what you pay." Steering some portion of the wealth created by its oil development to local communities is not only being a good corporate citizen, but would likely reduce long-term security costs, too.

5: Why not follow through on implementing a relocation in Kazakhstan that recognizes that rural villagers cannot live in urban environments without training and other accommodations? The cost is small, but the gesture would surely signal that the company respects the law as well as communities it does business in. With an expansion of the oil fields there representing a $5 billion additional investment, not addressing the needs of the village will only make Chevron and its partners look like greedy capitalists.

6: Stop flaring gas in the Niger Delta, a decades-old practice that causes health issues like asthma and other respiratory illnesses, cancer, etc.; pollutes the soil so crops are stunted; causes acid rain so poor villagers can't even keep roofs on their houses; and is a major contributor to global climate change. The natural gas burned off each year in Nigeria could help power the continent of Africa.

7: Stop using the notoriously brutal Nigerian and Burmese militaries as private security forces. Take responsibility for the company's security needs directly. Be accountable for their actions. Hire and train a Chevron-employed security team.

8: Invest in real educational opportunities for all people living on oil-producing lands. Instead of avoiding local hires to hide the way they do business, make them a core part of the business so that locals have a vested interest in the future of the land and their jobs.

9: Provide clean drinking water and sanitation in communities such as Ecuador and Nigeria, which no longer have access to clean water due to pollution and refinery operations.

10: Develop a new global standard for oil operations that is state-of-the-art and which would apply to all of its facilities located throughout the world. The company could pre-empt non-governmental organization campaigns by volunteering to lead in developing this standard with or without the help of its fellow oil companies.

11: Beyond cleaning up its act at existing oil operations, Chevron should diversify its portfolio of products. Today, the firm only devotes about 3 percent of its total investment in developing carbon-free power sources. Bump that up to 10 percent immediately, and then double that commitment to 20 percent within the next five years.

12: Like Pacific Gas & Electric, end its membership in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and lobby for meaningful federal legislation to address climate change. Announce this dramatic departure in Copenhagen this December. While you're at it, why not follow through on Chevron CEO O'Reilly's pledge to work with the Sierra Club to pass climate change legislation in Washington, DC?

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