Los Angeles County Approves Plan to Sunset the California Economy - OpEd


A California Regional Sustainability Plan for the 88 cities of Los Angeles County to be carbon neutral by 2050 includes a sunset to the oil and gas industry. That 220-page plan will also sunset the 5th largest economy in the world. Sunsetting, as used here, means bringing it to a slow and untimely death.

The Plan scarily reflects the hysterics of Greta Thunberg, the Swedish 16 year old high school student with a mastery of social media but no college level education to speak of, whose emotional message has officials in Washington, D.C., the U.N, and now the County of L.A. believing the world will end soon if governments don’t act to prevent climate change by reducing CO2 emissions.

The L.A County SUNSET Strategy is to end oil and gas operations throughout Los Angeles County by 2050 in order to meet California’s carbon neutrality target and the state’s commitments under the Paris Agreement which excludes Russia, Turkey and Iran as those countries believe the countries that control natural gas and oil will control the world. Putin of Russia understands WW I and II were both won with fossil fuels to move planes, ships, tanks, troops and supplies.

Let’s be clear about what sunsetting of the oil and gas industry means. It means trying to support militaries, aviation, cruise ships, and merchant ships, and all the transportation infrastructures that support commerce with the intermittent electricity that solar and wind technologies bring to the table.

The Oil and Gas industry in California is one of the few manufacturing industries left in the state and they operate in the most environmentally controlled location in the world to meet the state’s huge appetite for energy it needs to support its infrastructures.

The Sunset plan’s goal is to not leave the 152,000 workers in the oil and gas industry stranded who have an average income of more than $80,000 but build them a bridge to cleaner jobs and industries. But WAIT, once solar and wind farms are in place, they require minimal maintenance from less technical talent, so the unintended consequences will be that those high wage earners will most likely begin to exit the state rather than compete for the low paying low tech jobs the new industry brings with it.

Los Angeles County, like Greta, may be unaware that sunsetting the oil and gas industry would increase GHG emissions to meet the daily energy used by Californians from fuels being manufactured in less environmentally stringent locations, and increased costs to import them into California ports:

  • California transportation infrastructures are consuming more than 60 million gallons of fuels per day, jet (13 million), diesel (10 million), and gasoline (42 million) are being used by the 5th largest economy in the world to support commerce. Without transportation infrastructures, there is no commerce.
  • California has major ports for cruise liners that are accommodating 25 million passengers per year. Each liner consumes around 80,000 gallons of fuel PER DAY, per liner. Also, billions of vehicle trips to and from airports, hotels, seaports, and amusement parks are increasing each year.
  • For the billions of dollars of products imported and exported through California ports, those merchant ships moving products around the world are consuming more than 200 tons of fuel PER DAY, per ship to move merchandise around the world.

On the World Stage

There are billions of people in undeveloped countries who are currently living in low economy horse and buggy days that developed countries left behind a century ago. They have yet to join the industrial revolution, and without oil and natural gas, they may never get that opportunity.

There are billions of people in undeveloped countries who are currently living in low economy horse and buggy days that developed countries left behind a century ago. They have yet to join the industrial revolution, and without oil and natural gas, they may never get that opportunity.

Almost half the world — over three billion people — live on less than $2.50 a day. At least 80% of humanity lives on less than $10 a day.

Incredibly, global poverty affects the poorest 40 percent of the world’s population of 7.7 billion which accounts for 5 percent of global income. The richest 20 percent accounts for three-quarters of world income. Water problems affect half of humanity.

Shockingly, there are 11 million child deaths every year, mostly from energy starved countries of which more than 70 percent of those deaths are attributable to six causes: diarrhea, malaria, neonatal infection, pneumonia, preterm delivery, or lack of oxygen at birth. About 29 thousand children under the age of five – 21 each minute – die every day, mainly from preventable causes.

Are Greta and her followers supporting these avoidable premature deaths as they campaign for changes to reduce emissions regardless of the cost to humanity? SO, what about those developing countries that have yet to join the industrial revolution while developed countries, like her home country Sweden, have enjoyed the benefits of human activities, lifestyles, and prosperity afforded by fossil fuels for the last couple of centuries?

Over half (5,477) of the world’s coal power plants (9,574) are in China and India whose populations of mostly poor peoples is roughly 2.9 billion. Together they are in the process of building 634 new ones. They are putting their money and backs into their most abundant source of energy – coal.

If Greta and her followers did their homework instead of ranting about climate change, they would possibly have learned that those developing countries yet to join the industrial revolution are missing out on several great things fossil fuels have done for humanity. Sunsetting fossil fuel use would negatively impact modern medicine, agriculture, longevity, and our ability to face natural weather disasters:

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) chart reflects the energy that electricity alone from wind and solar cannot support, i.e., the energy requirements of infrastructures that did not exist centuries ago.

Los Angeles County’s recently approved plan for energy sustainability and the sunsetting of oil and natural gas go hand in hand with Greta’s manifesto, now being shouted by her followers, and will negatively impact the lifestyles of those in developed countries more than those in developing countries, as they require regression to primeval times in order to be carbon neutral.

Those billions of people in underdeveloped countries living in poverty will see no changes to their dismal existence. They will continue to live in poverty like they’ve been doing for centuries, so for them, who have nothing to lose, the end of the world may be a relief.

This piece was previously published at Eurasia Review.

Ronald Stein, P.E. is the Founder and Ambassador for Energy & Infrastructure at PTS Advance.