By Roland Sheppard
The following “warning” was printed on page A9 of the San Francisco Chronicle on Feb. 24. This is the first time that I have seen such an admission by the oil companies, although they worded their message as a compliance with California’s Proposition 65.
WARNING: Chemicals known to the State to cause cancer, birth defects, or other reproductive harm are found in gasoline, crude oil, and many other petroleum products and their vapors, or result from their use. Read and follow label directions and use care when handling or using all petroleum products.
Chemicals known to the State to cause cancer, birth defects, or other reproductive harm are found in and around gasoline stations, refineries, chemical plants, and other facilities that produce, handle, transport, store, or sell crude oil and petroleum and chemical products.
Other facilities covered by this warning include, for example, oil and gas wells, oil and gas treating plants, petroleum and chemical storage tanks, pipeline systems, marine vessels and barges, tank trucks and tank cars loading and unloading facilities, and refueling facilities.
The foregoing warning is provided pursuant to Proposition 65. This law requires the Governor of California to publish a list of chemicals “known to the State to cause cancer or reproductive toxicity.” This list is compiled in accordance with a procedure established by the Proposition, and can be obtained from the California Environmental Protection Agency.
Proposition 65 requires that a clear and reasonable warning be given to persons exposed to the listed chemicals in certain situations.
(Signed by) Aera Energy LCC; Kinder Morgan Energy Partners, L.P. SFPP, LP., Operating Partnership; ARCO Atlantic Richfield Company, its affiliates and subsidiaries; Texaco Inc., its affiliates and subsidiaries; Chevron Corporation and its subsidiaries; Time Oil Co.; Equilon Enterprises, LLC (under the trademarks Shell and Texaco); Tosco Corporation, its divisions and subsidiaries (and under the trademarks 76, BP and Circle K); Exxon Mobil Corporation; Ultramar Diamond Shamrock; the Valvoline Company, a division of Ashland Inc.; and Jackpot Convenience Stores Inc.
For more information, please call: (1-800) 523-3157.
This “warning” states in concise terms what is wrong with oil as one of the primary sources of energy. These companies also make products for paint and pesticides. It is not difficult to deduce that the huge increase in oil production is at least somewhat responsible (if not primarily responsible) for the increase in cancer and reproductive diseases over the past 50 years.
Along with this is the fact that global warming is caused mainly by the burning of oil, gasoline, and other fossil fuels. Every year there is an increase in the effects of global warming.
An article by Usha Lee McFarling in The Los Angeles Times of Feb. 23, 2000, begins: “A new analysis by government scientists indicates earth’s climate is warming at an unprecedented rate, suggesting that the future impact of global warming may be more severe and sudden than predicted.
“Such a steep warming rate was not expected to occur until well into the 21st century, said Tom Karl, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration climatologist who led the study. The trend probably would mean a continuation of the recent three-year string of steamy summers and mild winters seen by much of the nation, and perhaps increased flooding of low-lying areas.”
The article quotes Henry Pollack, a University of Michigan geologist, who says, “Effects of global warming-from a longer growing season in Alaska to thinning of Arctic sea ice and the flooding of some low-lying islands-have already occurred.”
A recent article by Andy Caffrey, “Is a Madhouse Century Knocking at Our Door?”, published by Climate Action NOW!, lists facts that also lead to the conclusion that the disastrous effects of global warming may be close at hand.
Caffrey explains how the ice caps in western Antarctica are declining due to the effects of climate warming. He states that “most of West Antarctica’s ice is anchored hundreds or thousands of feet below sea level-on a mixture of glacier-pulverized rock and water that has the consistency of toothpaste.
“In 1992, scientists discovered active volcanoes hidden under the ice of West Antarctica. … Above these volcanoes, giant ice streams-several times the size of the Amazon-flow toward the ocean hundreds of times faster than the surrounding ice. If these streams were unleashed, they could collapse the surrounding ice sheet, possibly leading to its obliteration.”
Caffrey quotes from Scientific American magazine (August 1995) that “the last ice age began 120,000 years ago with something they called the ‘Madhouse Century.’ At that time, sea level was the same as it is now, CO2 levels were similar, and global climate was just a little colder. Something happened to trigger a catastrophic 20-foot sea-level increase-immediately followed by a 50-foot decrease!-all in just 100 years!!!
“New findings show that sea level records, imprinted in limestone of the Bahamas Islands, rose 20 feet above that of today and then plunged to at least 30 feet below modern levels…”
“Researchers agree that sea level rise has quickened during the past century, along with atmospheric warming, and that coastal erosion and flooding are a reality. Ancient and modern data suggest that half of the planet’s population-those people living in coastal areas-may be the first to feel the impacts of the next Madhouse Century.”
Caffrey points out that the week before the November 1998 global warming treaty negotiations in Buenos Aires, Nature magazine published a call by scientists from several Western nations to begin a crash program to develop clean energy that would rival the Manhattan Project and the Apollo mission to the moon.
Clean energy is needed for the survival of the habitat for humanity. The funding for this crash program can be raised by taxing the energy companies 100 percent on their income derived from polluting the earth and by taking the billions spent each year on military spending.
A war to end global warming must begin! In the words of Fidel Castro: “Tomorrow may be too late.”