One of the gaping holes in the logic behind SB 375 is that while it identifies the global warming culprits, it puts them in the wrong order. According to the pie chart supplied by Stuff In The Air.com, it is not cars that are the major contributing factor to greenhouse gas emissions. A player to be sure, but by no means the largest. That honor would belong to power stations, those largely coal burning goliaths that help supply much of the electricity we use to light up our homes. And if you combine power stations plus "residential, commercial, and other uses" of that product, you're talking about nearly a third of all greenhouse gas emissions.
The basic premise behind SB 375 is that if you lay in another swath of high density development into already heavily built-out urban neighborhoods, people will willingly move there, give up their cars, and use public transportation. Thus somehow magically solving the greenhouse gas problem. However, wouldn't these uber-density neighborhoods be consuming a lot more energy in order to maintain the amenities of modern life? Including electricity, the production of which is the recognized leader in greenhouse gas production?
With a new generation of low-emission automobiles on the horizon, would the massive social disruptions and redevelopment being called for by Sacramento through its SB 375 lobby-driven high stakes gamble really be worth it? If the true intent is to cut greenhouse gas emissions, doesn't the sanctioning of vast increases in new housing construction seem just a little bit counterintuitive? Of course, we're assuming here that this is Sacramento's real intent, and they haven't just invented a cynical rationale for permitting some of their favorite (read: lucrative) lobbies to build with carefree abandon wherever they want.
Sierra Madre City Councilmember Joe Mosca is up for re-election this spring, and it is pretty clear where he stands on bringing generous amounts of unwelcome development to Sierra Madre. And that he actually heads the San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments committee tasked with enabling SB 375's implementation in places like our quaint little town is of interest. Something that could mean large swaths of generic condominium and mixed-use nonsense throughout our community should this largely rubber stamp organization get its way.
Now you would think that someone engaged in an enterprise such as the one Joe Mosca is running would be as fresh as the driven snow on an issue like Global Warming, right? After all, the harsh sacrifices he is asking small cities such as ours to make are immense, so certainly he would want to live a life that could serve as an example of how it needs to be done.
If you click here you will be taken to something called the Southern California Leadership Network, "Class of 2009." Something cobbled together by the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce. And if you scroll down to the "M" tier you will witness the following:
Joseph Mosca, Public Affairs Manager, Southern California Gas Company: ... Mosca practiced consumer and corporate bankruptcy law from 1999 to 2008 and is now employed by Southern California Gas Company, Sempra Energy Utilities.
Now why someone would go from practicing law to being a "Public Affairs Manager" is something of a mystery. Kind of like accepting a demotion from Colonel to Lieutenant in the Army. But that is not to our point today. What is, though, is that apparently Sempra Energy Utilities was recognized three years back as one of the worst greenhouse gas producers in the country. This from the San Diego Union-Tribune:
Sempra ranked near bottom on global warming
Sempra Energy was ranked near the bottom in dealing with global warming by a national investor coalition ... A national review of how 100 companies are addressing the risks and business opportunities arising from global warming ranked San Diego-based Sempra 18th among 19 companies in the electric industry ... The report, commissioned by Ceres, a Boston-based coalition of investors, environmentalists and public interest groups, ranked corporate response to global warming across five areas: board oversight of the problem, management performance, public discourse, emissions accounting and strategic planning ... The highest-rated company was BP, the British petroleum company, which was also among the five foreign companies that topped nine of the industries surveyed. A spokesman for BP noted that that the oil company has also become the third-largest solar company in the world ... Many experts say there are growing costs - including crop damage and flooding - that should be attributed to climate changes caused by greenhouse gas emissions. Most fear there will be far greater economic damage should global warming continue at its current rate ... In the electric power industry, Sempra ranked last among major California companies with utility operations and outpointed only Constellation Energy among the 19 companies reviewed overall. Sempra is a diversified energy company and parent of both San Diego Gas & Electric Co. and Southern California Gas Co. ... On the survey's 100-point scorecard, Sempra received 24 points, while Pacific Gas & Electric got 54 and Edison International 51 ... The study was conducted by the Investor Responsibility Research Center using information from public filings, company reports and direct company contact. The Center, based in Washington D.C., was founded in 1972 and specializes in corporate governance and social responsibility issues ... In contrast with companies highly rated in the assessment, Sempra doesn't have board or executive committees devoted to global warming, and its chief executives have failed to address the issue. The survey also found Sempra had no executive addressing the issue.
A representative of the Natural Resources Defense Council said Sempra's rating for addressing global warming was appropriately low. He was particularly critical of Sempra's plans to build coal-fired plants in Idaho and Nevada ... "Sempra is out there trying to build more coal-fired plants and that is exactly the wrong thing to do," said David Hawkins, director of the climate center for the Natural Resources Defense Council, a reference to Sempra proposals in Idaho and Nevada ... "The report is cutting-edge information," Hawkins added. "The people who did this report are serious people, and they do their homework."
Anybody surprised? Another example of that "rule of opposites" thing at work, I guess.