In any normal summer, heading inland for a break from coastal Humboldt’s summer fog would seem like a great idea.
But this is no normal summer. Thankfully, Humboldt missed the “heat dome” that baked the Pacific Northwest with record-breaking heat. But smoky skies and daily temps over 100 are early this year, only a few miles from the coast.
Weather like this reminds us that our chance to limit climate change will only last so long. There’s a disconnect between our shock, hearing of 400-plus people literally baking to death in British Columbia (of all places!), against the plodding work of changing laws and policies. (See this on the challenges democracy faces in tackling climate change.)
But your energy is needed. Your work could be as vital as anyone’s, so we hope you’ll pitch in. If you want something more hands-on than sending an email or phoning a legislator’s office, reply to this message. 350 Humboldt has a stack of projects awaiting people to do them. You could help.
But if you can manage just a bite-sized piece of activism, call Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office at (916) 445-2841 and tell him how important rooftop solar power is to California. Last month, despite 7,000 comments in opposition, large utilities convinced the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to begin charging monthly fees to rooftop solar power generators (see this fact sheet).
The issue is complicated: at the same time the CPUC gave utilities the okay to kill rooftop solar, they also ordered them to greatly ramp up industrial-scale fossil-free generation in the next five years — a good thing. The grid will be better for the climate, it just won’t be with the help of anyone you might know. (See more on this side of the CPUC’s decision here.) Maybe it would make sense to clean up the grid both ways?
Less complicated is the effort to get CalPERS to make climate-friendly decisions when it invests public employees’ money. As the largest public pension fund in the country, CalPERS controls nearly $400 billion in assets. It also has a poor track record of investing in fossil fuel projects (that later flopped). See this, or email Sen. Mike McGuire and ask that he oppose AB 386, a bill in the State Senate that would enable CalPERS to keep its investment decisions secret from climate activists and the public.
We hope you’ll join us for a Zoom presentation (register here) on Monday, August 2, 7:00 p.m., when 350 Humboldt will host Larry Oetker, CEO of the Humboldt Bay Harbor, Recreation and Conservation District. Larry and district commissioners have set an ambitious path to make Humboldt Bay a port of significance. This includes projects like supporting offshore wind development and a massive aquaculture project, among others. And they plan for it to meet California’s goals for carbon neutrality. Find out what Larry and the Harbor District are thinking, and bring your questions.
Here’s a few interesting items you may have missed in the news:
The last of what was to have been seven huge coal export terminals in Oregon and Washington was killed when the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal on June 28. Read about this huge victory, potentially the death knell for coal in the western U.S. One activist summed it up nicely: “When we fight for what we love, we win.”
Developing renewable energy can be controversial, too, as we know from the Terragen wind farm’s defeat in 2019. Here’s a similar story from our neighbors in Shasta County. And the flip side, from farther afield, here.
Check out Exxon’s chief lobbyist recorded on YouTube spilling the company’s secrets on how they torpedoed (at least for now) President Biden’s biggest climate plans.
And here’s a great podcast on electrification of housing and its potential for reducing climate change.
Thanks for what you do for the climate!
Pat Carr for 350 Humboldt