Gary Graham Hughes 
Member since Mar 20, 2016


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Re: “The Senator Versus Coal

I applaud Senator Hancock for the strong stance on avoiding new coal and fossil fuel infrastructure. It is imperative that we massively reduce our use of fossil fuels as soon as possible to avoid catastrophic impacts from human forced climate change. Reducing and eliminating new fossil fuel infrastructure is an important step in that direction. However, the Senator is making one major and unfortunately common climate science mistake, that regarding mitigation with offsets. The science shows that essentially it is physically impossible to "neutralize" (i.e. offset) the emissions from our burning of fossil fuels. This is an issue that in other instances the East Bay Express is excellent at calling in to question, but in this article the assumption was left unchallenged. California Cap-and-Trade is premised upon a common but erroneous assumption, that we can compensate in any meaningful way with Offsets for the irreversible emissions impacts from burning fossil fuels. Stakeholders who have expressed this view in the development of California climate policy have been marginalized, and the concept of offsets has gained popularity and acceptance, regardless of the dubious nature of the science that is used to justify offsets on both environmental, social, and economic grounds. Perhaps another important legacy that Sen Hancock could leave is to require a rigorous scientific assessment of California Cap-and-Trade, whose environmental and social impacts have yet to be reviewed in a substantial manner. The incredible effort to inhibit new fossil fuel infrastructure would be complimented by a policy push to see that California climate policy is informed by the best available climate science.

Posted by Gary Graham Hughes on 03/20/2016 at 1:41 PM

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