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Rising Temps Taking a Toll on Lizards

The mesquite lizard is a member of the Sceloporus genus. Sinervo's study included 48 species of Sceloporus.

Sinervo's study included 48 species of the genus Sceloporus, of which the mesquite lizard (above) is a member.

A new study published this week in the journal Science finds that local lizard populations around the world are going extinct, likely due to climate change.  According to the research, conducted by a team of scientists including Barry Sinervo, a herpetologist at UC Santa Cruz, four percent of the world’s lizard populations have disappeared in the last 35 years, and another 20% of all lizard species could go extinct by 2080 if global temperatures continue to rise.

Using field observation and experiments, and computer modeling, Sinervo and his team determined that increased daytime temperatures in some areas have shortened the amount of time each day during which lizards can forage for food. The data–and that of collaborating scientists on five continents–indicates that higher temperatures and reduced feeding time correlates with the pattern of local extinctions among lizard species across the globe (the Science website has a slideshow explaining how the research was conducted).

Sinervo described his research today on the NPR program Science Friday as part of a panel discussing modern extinctions.  He was joined by UC Berkeley integrative biology professor Tony Barnosky and San Francisco State Biology professor Vance Vredenberg.  Christopher Joyce reported on the study’s findings yesterday on NPR’s All Things Considered.

Hope, Skepticism at Renewables Conference

One section of a solar-thermal array on display at UC Riverside. Thousands of these mirrors gather solar radiation to heat a synthetic oil, which drives electrical generation at huge desert facilities. Photo: Craig Miller

One section of a solar-thermal array on display at UC Riverside. Thousands of these mirrors gather solar radiation to heat a synthetic oil, which drives electrical generation at huge desert facilities. Photo: Craig Miller

Perhaps the most telling moment at the Governor’s Renewable Energy Policy Conference this week, was when the Governor’s own senior advisor on renewables, Michael Picker, asked for a show of hands. How many present, he wondered, actually thought that California would attain its goal of 33% renewable power by 2020. Amid the 370 or so gathered on the campus of UC Riverside, about a dozen hands went up. How many, he asked, thought we’d make it to 33% by 2050? Another dozen or so hands.

Bear in mind that this was a room containing some of the most knowledgeable people on the topic, from government, industry and environmental organizations. These were people invested in getting there, yet most seemed to doubt that we would.

Their pessimism was not entirely shared by the questioner. Picker told me afterward that he expected about 8,000 megawatts of new power to be approved by year-end. That’s approved, not necessarily financed. Solar arrays that generate 250 MW or more are considered large-scale operations.

Meanwhile, developers are pushing to get major projects approved before the year is out. To qualify for federal stimulus dollars, projects have to break ground this year and spend a certain percentage of project costs.

“It’s a hard state to develop in,” said Matt Handel, a vice president with NextEra Energy Resources. The Florida-based company is already a major player in both solar and wind generation in California, and Handel says the stimulus money is essential for two major new projects that NextEra has in mind for the southern California deserts.

“There is hope,” Handel told me. “It is difficult. There are a lot of constituencies out there pulling in different directions.”

Virtually all of those stakeholder groups were present in Riverside, in some form. Local (especially desert) communities, environmentalists, Indian tribes and representatives from federal agencies such as the Bureau of Land Management and National Park Service were there.

Identifying the most appropriate sites for large-scale wind and solar plants has been complicated by more than bureaucracy, said Kim Delfino, California Program Director for Defenders of Wildlife. “The landscape we’re working in is already changing due to the effects of climate change, which presents a challenge as to which areas to protect,” said Delfino in a panel discussion.

Picker says he’s “not so sure” that the state is doing the best possible job of moving projects efficiently through the pipeline (to borrow a metaphor from the fossil fuels era), and he conceded that some developers will be left standing in line as the year-end deadline expires. But he calculated that if, over the next five years, 20% of the biggest projects on the drawing board can get approved, the state should make its 2020 goal.

Mapping California’s Shifting Climate

By Gretchen Weber & Molly Samuel

A companion radio piece to this post aired on The California Report.

Map from The Nature Conservancy showing projected drought conditions for 2070-2100

Projected drought conditions for 2070-2100 (Map: The Nature Conservancy)

Climate change is causing conservationists to rethink traditional methods of protecting lands and ecosystems. The conventional strategy of setting aside a specific parcel of land (and increasingly, ocean) to protect a particular community of organisms may no longer be sufficient in a rapidly changing climate. While greenhouse gas reduction and climate change mitigation remains a top priority for most conservationists, land managers have begun developing adaptation strategies that take the effects of a warming planet into account.

“We have a fantastic conservation success story in having conserved a huge network of protected areas,” says Healy Hamilton, director of the Center for Applied Biodiversity Informatics at the California Academy of Sciences. “The issue with those protected areas is that they all have static boundaries around them and they work to protect what lies within them,  So the plants and animals that are there are well-protected, as long as they stay there.” Trouble is, the habitat isn’t staying put.

Climate has “Velocity”

The world’s ecosystems will need to move about a quarter of a mile each year to keep up with climate change, according to a recent study published in Nature (link is to the first paragraph of the paper; the full article is only available to subscribers, but you can read a press release about the about the study).

Researchers from the Carnegie Institution, Stanford, the California Academy of Sciences, and UC Berkeley collaborated on the paper, which describes climate belts sweeping north and south from the equator–and also moving uphill–as the world warms.

Hamilton, who co-authored the study, told a packed house at the Center for Biological Diversity in January, that “Climates are on the move. It’s not just a slow unfolding, it’s a radical, abnormal process. Everywhere we look, shifts are already occurring.”

And under these changing conditions, she said, plants and animals have three choices: “They can stay and adapt, they can shift with their climate, or they can go locally extinct if they can’t move fast enough.”

The study’s lead author, Scott Loarie, a fellow at the Carnegie Institution, explains that climate change forecasts are commonly measured in degrees per year, but the authors of this study wanted to know how those temperature changes would affect what can live where. So they used temperature “velocity” (in kilometers per year) to measure how fast regional climate conditions are moving as the planet heats up.

It turns out that the belts move at different rates, depending on the landscape. In the Amazon Basin, velocity is relatively high. It’s a large and homogeneous ecosystem, so as the temperature changes there, plants and animals will have to travel a long way to keep up with the climate in which they’ve evolved to thrive. In a place like California, with its microclimates and variable topography, the velocity is lower. Some species may need merely to migrate to a nearby north-facing–and therefore cooler–slope. Others will have to head north and toward the coast. Climate models forecast that eventually the Bay Area will look more like Southern California, and the Bay Area’s current climate will be located somewhere north of us.

Projected Heat Stress in California for 2070-2100 (Map: The Nature Conservancy)

Projected Heat Stress in California for 2070-2100 (Map: The Nature Conservancy)

Mapping a Moving Climate

The Nature Conservancy of California has attempted to map some of these trends (see above and below). Scientists averaged together several different climate models to create a picture of California’s future in terms of temperature and precipitation. They then applied that projection to habitats for specific species, to make predictions about how ranges may shift. The maps show both how much areas are likely to change, as well as how certain the predictions are.

“What we’re trying to understand is how does the way we protect species in the future need to change with a changing climate,” says Rebecca Shaw, Director of Conservation for the Nature Conservancy of California. “The kind of strategies you employ and how much you spend is really going to be dependent on how certain you are about change in the future.”

For example, she says some parts of the Sierra are not likely to change very much over the next century, but some places like the Mojave Desert are expected to change a great deal. That kind of information could be useful for land managers trying to plan for the future. For example, in areas that are expected to undergo great change, it might be more important to preserve corridors, or connecting stretches of protected lands, so that populations can move as the climate changes, if they are unable to adapt where they are.

Loarie says “assisted migration”–helping specific species move to new locations–is expensive, unpredictable, and unrealistic. Instead, he, too, corridors for plants and animals to safely follow their climate–if they can keep up. Species like the American pika, already living on mountaintops, can’t go any farther uphill. Their habitats could disappear completely, or, as Loarie says, “they’ll pop off the top.”

There are limitations to the predictions one can make with temperature velocity measurements. What temperature changes will do to fog, for instance, is still unknown, so it’s not clear yet where the redwoods will need to move in the next 100 or so years.

To enable the second option, Hamilton agrees with Loarie. she says the conservation community needs to rethink its traditional strategy of protecting lands. Instead of protecting specific parcels of land and expecting them the stay the same over time, conservationists need to expect change, and to create connectivity in the landscape so that species can move when and if they need to.

Projected changes in California Salamander habitat (Map: The Nature Conservancy)

Projected changes in California Salamander habitat (Map: The Nature Conservancy)

Projected changes in California Blue Oak habitat (Map: The Nature Conservancy)

Projected changes in California Blue Oak habitat (Map: The Nature Conservancy)

Huge Federal Boost for Oakland Solar Company

BrightSource Energy

Doing it with mirrors. Image: BrightSource Energy

Oakland-based BrightSource Energy is reportedly the beneficiary of a $1.37 billion federal boost for its planned solar-thermal plant in Southern California.

The New York Times reports today that it’s the biggest loan guarantee so far for a single solar project and that the Ivanpah array would be the largest of its type, potentially generating 2,600 megawatts of power for PG&E and SoCal Edison. The loan guarantee does not mean that the project is fully funded but federal loan guarantees are considered a potent inducement for investors.

The California Energy Commission has a chart of all solar projects currently under consideration, on its website. The CEC lists 28 solar-thermal projects and another dozen or so utility-scale photovoltaic arrays either announced, approved, or currently under review.

Thousand-Year-Old Trees Get a Growth Spurt

Bristlecone pine. Photo: US Forest Service

Bristlecone pine in the Inyo National Forest. Photo: US Forest Service

There’s a lot of history packed into a tree with more than 4,000 annual growth rings. Scientists who count them (dendrochronologists) have been able to learn a lot about the drought history of California and the West.

The Great Basin bristlecone pines that grow along the spine of the Sierra are the oldest living things on Earth–older, even, than the giant sequoias. Studying the uppermost trees, around 12,000 ft., researchers stumbled on a strange trend. The trees, legendary for their slow rate of growth, have been growing faster over the last 50 years or so, than at any time in the last three millennia.

If you missed it this week, Malcolm Hughes, one of the study’s lead researchers and a professor of dendrochronology at the University of Arizona’s Laboratory for Tree-Ring Research, spoke to NPR’s All Things Considered about the possible cause.

There’s more on the study in a recent post on the RealClimate blog.

You can see these astonishing trees for yourself in the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest of Inyo National Forest–but you might want to wait until spring. The visitor center is not staffed between November and May and winter access is iffy at 10,000 feet. Worse yet, the original vistor center burned down in the fall of last year. The Forest Service is using a temporary (trailer) facility until a permanent one is rebuilt. According to the Forest Service website:

“…the visitor center is being designed to be a model of energy efficiency, utilizing the latest in “green” building practices.   According to Bristlecone Pine Forest Manager John Louth, some of the improvements that visitors will see will be a state-of-the art solar power system, updated exhibits addressing the impacts of global warming on the ancient trees, a small research library, a slightly larger theatre room and a fire/intrusion detection & suppression system.”

When Will Lake Mead Go Dry?

Exposed turbine intakes and the "bathtub ring" at Lake Mead. Photo: Craig Miller

Exposed turbine intakes and the "bathtub ring" at Lake Mead. Photo: Craig Miller

You can see a slide show of the retreating waters at Lake Mead and Hoover Dam and listen to my radio feature from The California Report. Also, The American Experience will rerun its documentary on Hoover Dam, Monday night on most PBS stations.

The Las Vegas Sun has a digital clock on its website, counting down to a theoretical doomsday when the city’s principal source of water would go dry. Wagering on that question may not have found its way into the sports books on the Strip–but it did become a lively pastime among engineers and hydrologists, when a report emerged from San Diego’s Scripps Institution, with a dire forecast. The paper, by climate physicist Tim Barnett, put the odds at 50-50 that Lake Mead, the giant reservoir behind Hoover Dam, would reach “dead pool” by 2017. That’s the point at which the dam shuts down and neither hydroelectric power nor water emerges from it.

The Barnett study “definitely raised eyebrows throughout the basin,” admits Terry Fulp, deputy director of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s Lower Colorado Region, which operates Hoover Dam and Lake Mead. As it turns out, Barnett was a bit pessimistic. Subsequent work by him and others revealed that he overestimated the evaporation rate at Lake Mead, and omitted inflows below a certain point on the river.

The bottom line, according to Balaji Rajagopalan at the University of Colorado: Doomsday is not quite that near at hand. But that doesn’t mean it’s not on the horizon. “After 2027, the demand increase outpaces the supply decrease,” Rajagopalan told me in a recent interview. “And that’s why much of the risk explodes from 2027 to 2057.”

All of these studies are couched in probabilities, much in the same way that the Corps of Engineers talks about a “100-year” flood. Rajagopalan says: “Even in our study, we have a 50% risk [of dead pool], but that occurs in 2057. And that makes a big difference in terms of water managers, what they can do.”

One of those managers is Pat Mulroy, who directs the Southern Nevada Water Authority. Her constituents rely on Lake Mead for 90% of their water, so she says she’s not inclined to wait around for a consensus. “I mean, during the entire period of the ‘90s when we were bickering with our friends in the lower basin over surpluses, there was zero probability that the drought that we’re currently in was going to happen,” Mulroy told me.  “I’ve lost confidence in probabilities.”

The Bureau’s Fulp says the Colorado system leans heavily on the huge water storage capacity of Lake Mead and its sister reservoir upstream, Lake Powell. “We’ve known for decades that this system is highly variable and that’s why so much storage was built.” When filled to capacity (which it was, more or less, 10 years ago), Lake Mead alone can hold enough to put an area the size of Pennsylvania under a foot of water. But a 10-year drought has left Mead at just over 40% of capacity (so think of flooding something more the size of Costa Rica). Just as current evidence and climate models both point toward lessening flows on the Colorado, many parts of the southwest still see relatively high population growth.

Scientists continue to run their statistical models aimed at handicapping the Colorado’s demise as a dependable bringer of water. But as Fulp sums it up, “It’s really a debate about when. It’s not really ‘if.”

I regret an error of my own that appeared in the radio feature. I misstated the number of people in southern Nevada who are dependent on water from the Colorado. The correct number is about two million.

An Hour with Amory Lovins

In case you missed it amid the flurry of climate-related news last week: On September 30, Amory Lovins, founder and chief scientist of the Rocky Mountain Institute, and an honest-to-goodness energy guru to many, spent an hour in conversation with Michael Krasny and callers to KQED’s Forum program. You can listen to the entire archived broadcast or scan some of the highlights here, compiled by Climate Watch intern David Ferry.

On China:

“We can count on China to lead the world out of the climate mess…Even though the U.S. has led the world in wind installations the past three years, this year China’s going to pass us so fast we won’t even hear them go by. China’s doubled its wind installation each of the past four years, and there’s a new paper in Science from Harvard and Tsinghua in September saying that China can meet all its electric needs–not the growth but the total–till at least 2030, cost effectively, from its wind resources.”

On Nuclear Power:

“Basically nuclear and coal plants are getting walloped in the global marketplace by efficiency and renewables and cogeneration because they’re a lot cheaper and they have less financial risk so they can attract private investment.”

Grading the Obama Administration on Renewables:

“Greatly improved and I think on the whole doing very well.”

On the Upcoming UN Climate Talks in Copenhagen:

“I’m cautiously optimistic…But remember that governments are usually the last to figure these things out. Most governments still think climate protection is costly. They haven’t figured out yet that economic theorists got the sign wrong and actually climate protection is profitable. Once you change the conversation from cost, burden and sacrifice to profit, jobs and competitive advantage it makes the politics a whole lot easier.”

On Energy Efficiency & Steve Chu’s “Low-Hanging Fruit” metaphor:

“The technologies keep improving faster than we use them, so efficiency is an ever bigger and cheaper source–it’s as if the ‘low hanging fruit’ had fallen on the ground; it’s mushing up around the ankles, it’s spilling in over the tops of our boots and the efficiency tree keeps dumping more fruit on our heads.”

On Large-Scale Solar Farms v. “Distributed” Power Generation:

“The sun is distributed for free. Why gather it in one place and then pay to spread it out again? The National Renewable Energy Lab says if we put solar cells on seven percent of the structures in this country it would run all our electric needs without using any land. And for that matter, the wind potential on available windy land in this country is several times our total electric need and the footprint is actually very small.”

On Whether Climate Change is Irreversible:

“There are a half-dozen known mechanisms of rapid climate change. Several of them show like they may be starting up, so it’s urgent to reverse that…we have plenty of technology already available to stabilize climate to the extent that irreversible changes have not already started. We don’t know what that extent is, so we ought to go full bore on best buys first and hope that we’re in time.”

You can also take a virtual tour of Lovins’ home in Colorado, which doubles as a laboratory for energy innovation.

A Climate of Quietude

This week conservationists issued their annual list of the “most endangered” national parks, including two in California (Joshua Tree and Yosemite). There are many ways to measure the health of a park; the air, the water. This week on Quest radio, I examine an often overlooked vital sign: the sound. Thanks to Climate Watch contributor Sasha Khokha, Bob Roney, Bernie Krause and the staff at NPS Ft. Collins for many of the sounds you hear in that segment, nicely mixed by Ceil Muller.

Sand dune near Stovepipe Wells, Death Valley. Photo: Craig Miller

Sand dune near Stovepipe Wells, Death Valley. Photo: Craig Miller

The quietest place I’ve ever been was in a national park and I don’t think I’ll ever forget what it was like.

Okay, “quiet” is a somewhat subjective thing. When I lived on the upper (way upper) west side of Manhattan in the 1980s, any interval without hearing a car alarm seemed like blessed relief. Quiet can be measured, of course, with sound pressure meters. Anything below about 40 decibels is pretty darn quiet for most people’s purposes (a state that I doubt was ever attained in my apartment on West 119th St.).

The National Park Service (NPS) says the quietest place it has yet measured is a spot in Great Sand Dunes National Park, where Vicki McCusker, who helps oversee the natural sounds program for the Park Service, says it was “bottoming out” their meters.

I’ve never been there but it’s hard to imagine greater quietude than an afternoon I spent in Death Valley. Coincidentally this was also on a sand dune, near Stovepipe Wells. It was also Christmas Day, which kept the tourist traffic to a minimum. It was at a point in my life when I was in desperate need of some deep introspection, so I parked my car along Highway 190 and trekked into the dunes, found an accommodating slope and sat down. Occasionally a fly (or something) would buzz by. Other than that, the loudest thing was the buzzing in my own head, which I can only hope would’ve been inaudible to anyone with me.

Looking across the dunes in Death Valley. Photo: Craig Miller

Looking across the dunes in Death Valley. Photo: Craig Miller

It’s interesting how, when things get really quiet, our bodies try to make up for it with ringing ears and internal chaos. The noted bioacoustician Bernie Krause talks about the time he and his wife, Kat were hosting guests from New York, who literally had to leave the Krause’s semi-secluded Glen Ellen “sanctuary” because the night-time quiet was creeping them out.

I asked Krause what he could draw from that. “Well, it tells me that we’re more insane than I ever thought in the first place,” he mused. “I mean, we’re definitely verging on pathological.  Because it’s exactly those kinds of sounds–the urban acoustic envelope in which we enfold ourselves–that kind of urban noise that’s driving up the numbers of prescriptions for Prozac.”

Surveys of national park visitors would seem to bear that out.  In the early 1990s, NPS surveyed 15,000 visitors in 39 parks, about noise issues (NPS manages 391 “units” nationwide, 58 of which are designated as “parks”). More than nine out of ten visitors surveyed cited “enjoyment of natural quiet” as a reason for visiting. This survey provided some juice for the ongoing natural sounds program in the parks.

An open question is: where does it go from here? Much of the current effort in the parks appears to be geared toward developing “air tour management plans,” a response to concerns that first arose over the increasingly crowded skies above the Grand Canyon. McCusker told me that while aircraft overflights are the most pervasive noise issue across the parks, the most common complaint is probably over loud motorcycles (note to “straight-pipe” Harley owners).

Krause, who conducted a year-long project documenting soundscapes in Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Park, hopes the research will also be used to develop new rules governing on-the-ground noise pollution. “If the parks can set aside places where people can go and hear the natural world as it is, at any season of the year, then that will be a really big benefit for visitors coming to the parks,” he says. “Otherwise, you’re seeing the parks with the wrong soundtrack. It’s like watching Star Wars without a soundtrack.”

Leave a comment with your own “quietest place.”

In 2003, Bernie Krause & I co-produced a short film for the National Park Service, which takes you on a 4-and-a-half-minute journey from the “urban sound envelope” to a restful spot in Sequoia National park.

Tune in to PBS this week for the premiere of Ken Burns’ new series: The National Parks: America’s Best Idea. Also Quest television explores the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, an urban national park. This program is now available for viewing at the Quest site (see previous link).

Not Connecting the Dots

grid_0295Two developments this week would seem to validate concerns that things aren’t quite lining up for the vaunted new age of renewable energy.

While the Secretaries of Energy and Interior were offering confident assurances to a Senate panel about the future of renewables, a consortium of environmental groups was suing them over a plan for major new transmission lines for the western electrical grid.

The groups, represented by lawyers at Oakland-based EarthJustice, produced their own maps to show that the proposed routes appear to miss many areas with the most potential for solar, wind and geothermal resources. Instead, environmentalists say the West-wide Energy Transmission Corridors approved under the Bush administration would seem to line up just about perfectly with major existing and proposed coal-fired power plants (note that the maps themselves are PDF downloads).

According to EarthJustice:

“The Bush corridors plan ignores the Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) adopted by nine of the eleven western states to increase use of the region’s vast wind, solar, and other forms of renewable energy. The approximately 6,000 miles and 3.2 million acres of federal land in eleven western states designated as energy corridors puts imperiled wildlife at risk and slices or brushes against the borders of iconic public lands. Among these are Utah’s Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Arches National Park, and New Mexico’s Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge.”

I asked Katie Renshaw, a Washington-based lawyer for EarthJustice, if Energy and Interior wouldn’t have updated their plans since the Bush-era maps were approved. “As far as we’ve seen, they haven’t,” said Renshaw.  “An analysis was never really completed.”

The lawsuit comes just days after energy entrepreneur T. Boone Pickens revealed that he’s having to reconsider his plans for a major network of wind turbines through Texas. The reason: no transmission lines.

In California and elsewhere, proposed transmission lines have run afoul of environmental interests, as Rob Schmitz reported in his New Gridlock series for Climate Watch.

Update: Scott Streater has more on the controversy over siting renewables in a New York Times Greenwire post.

Mapping Out Solar Power Hotspots

Somewhat overtaken by the other headlines of the week, dominated by celebrity obits and California’s financial meltdown, was the release by federal agencies of some new solar maps. They pinpoint federal lands in seven western states that present–in the government’s view–some of the best potential for building out utility-scale solar power production.

The four California locations (.pdf link) combine more than 350,000 acres in San Bernardino, Riverside and Imperial Counties. They supposedly represent the best combination of production potential, least conflict with other land uses and environmental concerns, and proximity to existing transmission lines or power plants. Areas were also mapped in neighboring Nevada and Arizona.

Update: Scott Streater has more on the controversy over planned renewable power sites, including California’s Iron Mountain site (see map, below),  in a New York Times Greenwire post.

All California locations are on BLM property in the state's southeastern deserts. Image: DOE/BLM

All California locations are on BLM property in the state's southeastern deserts. Image: DOE/BLM

The maps appeared just as California’s main regulator of power companies issued an update on solar projects in the state. The California Public Utilities Commission reported that the rate of new solar installations nearly doubled last year, from 2007 levels.

The CPUC tally shows California with over 500 MW of solar photovoltaic (PV) connected to the electric grid at almost 50,000 customer sites. The report notes that all those electrons combined are equivalent to one large power plant. About half of the current total went in under the California Solar Initiative, which has reached 13% of it’s 10-year goal, with another 8% in pending applications.

Also this week, more than $300 million fell from the federal money tree for a hydrogen power project in southern California. Cash from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (better known as the federal stimulus plan) will flow to the Hydrogen Energy California (HECA) project in Bakersfield. The project is designed to provide power for 150,000 homes in the area, by converting oil to hydrogen.

A statement from the California Recovery Task Force (CRTF), a conduit for federal stimulus funds, describes the HECA project as “an Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle power plant that will take petroleum coke, biomas, coal or blends of each, combined with non-potable water to convert them into hydrogen and carbon dioxide (CO2). The hydrogen gas will be used to fuel a net 250-megawatt power station.”

Perhaps more significant are the plans for the carbon dioxide generated in burning the oil. The CRTF statement says that “The CO2 will be transported by pipeline to nearby oil reservoirs and injected for permanent storage which will enhance U.S. energy security and enable additional production from existing California oilfields.”

CRTF says the project will “avoid” emissions of more than two million tons of greenhouse gases per year.