This paper involves an analysis of the article, “Until California Curbs its Oil refineries, It Won’t Meet is Climate Goals” by Jacques Leslie in the Los Angeles Times. Leslie is an affiliate member of the Authors Guild. He is a renowned author, essayist, and journalist. He mainly writes about environmental issues for the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and The New Yorker’s Element Blog. He expresses his interest in exploring more on the issues of geography, politics, and environment which he notes to have had a great impact to the human history but yet undermined. His books are Deep Water: The Epic Struggle Over Dams, Displaced People and The Mark: A War Correspondent’s Memoir of Vietnam and Cambodia. From this description, it can be identified that the writer has the credibility for addressing environmental issues like the one addressed on the article under review.
Discussion on development of arguments in the course of the class indicated that people make arguments when they express, justify, or explain their opinions. By analyzing the explanations by Leslie, it is clear that he is making an argument on the need to control the activities of oil refineries whose pollution impacts have gone unchecked. He notes that this lack of control is likely to negatively affect the attempts to achieve the California climate change strategy. The author identifies how the issue of oil refineries has failed to garner interest, a trend like to be continued in the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco. The irony in this situation is that California through its climate change strategy, has indicated its commitment in promoting renewable energy, cap-and-trade gas emission limits, and use of electrical cars, but has continuously ignored the impacts of the refineries which are key infrastructure in the State’s oil supply infrastructure (Leslie 1). The article is an expression of facts on why California is likely to miss its goals on reduction of emission reductions, unless it takes into account the emissions from the oil refineries.
In light of the topics covered in class, it is possible to unearth the conclusion of argument by an author, through an examination and analysis of arguments. In the article Leslie presents key evidence to support his argument. He presented the statistics on the oil refinery sector in California where he notes that the refineries are mainly concentrated in the Los Angeles’ South Bay and San Francisco Bay area. The 17 refineries in the state make California the largest oil processing center in western North America. He provides support of his argument based on the statistics by Greg Karras, a senior scientist at Huntington Park-Based Communities for a Better Environment , who indicates that even if other source attain their targets on emission reductions and with no control on refineries, the oil sector pollution by 2050 would make the state exceed its climate goals by 40% (Leslie 1). The situation is worsened by fact that oil refineries are exempted from state’s cap and trade programs that charges fees for emissions. This waiver has been extended by the legislature for another decade. The legislation has also prohibited the regional districts from putting their own limits on refinery carbon dioxide emissions (Leslie 1). It is therefore clear that the authority has turned a blind eye to the impact of oil refinery sector on emission.
A review of the article reveals the values that the author abides by. This can be revealed from the emerging themes and the side of the argument that the author seems to be in support. The main theme emerging from the article is on contribution of oil refineries to emissions, that have gone unchecked. The author expresses his concerns on how the emissions from oil refineries will affect attainment of the California’s Climate change strategy. This is because the sector has remained uncontrolled in terms of emissions in contribution to the carbon dioxide. The author highlights how the situation is expected to worsen due to the oil being processed becoming dirtier thereby contributing to higher rate of greenhouse emissions from the processing chain. It is clear that even with the decline oil deposits in California, the oil refineries are seeking other sources of crude oil to ensure that their plants remain operational. One evidence presented in the article that proves are not in the near future going to get concerned about the climate change is their continuous lobbying for approval for rail terminals and ports to ease the movement of tar sands oil from Canada (Leslie 1). The tar sands are known for its off-the-charts, climate-busting pollution. While this move has been blocked by the local governments, it is not clear for how long this will last before the oil refineries have their way.
The opposing side to this argument presented would clearly be the oil refineries. A key counter argument that they are likely to highlight is that they have installed in place internal capacities to reduce the emissions and the negative effects of the emission to climate change. Advancements in the refining technology has ensured that the oil refinery process produces less greenhouse gases. Among the technologies available is on the steam generating boilers that have seen an improved process control including the oxygen monitors and intake air flow monitors that help optimize the fuel/air mixture thereby reducing the emission levels (EPA 22).
EPA. “Available and Emerging Technologies for Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions from the Petroleum Refining Industry.” 2010. <https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2015-12/documents/refineries.pdf>.
Leslie, Jacques. “Until California Curbs its Oil refineries, It won’t Meet its Climate Goals.” 2018. <http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-leslie-refineries-california-climate-summit-20180911-story.html>.
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