Cost to Californians $10 Trillion by 2045 From Oil And Gas, Consumer Watchdog Reveals in New Report

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Los Angeles, CA—The true cost to the public of California’s oil and gas production and combustion is estimated to reach $10 trillion by 2045, a new report released today by Consumer Watchdog finds.  Californians will be paying more than $400 billion annually in public costs caused by fossil fuels between now and 2045 when the state aims to be carbon neutral. 
 
“According to the oil industry, California oil and gas production is indispensable,” the Consumer Watchdog report states. “But a rough tally of costs in the form of harm to public health from oil and gas pollution, fossil-fuel accelerated global warming, exacerbated wildfires and drought, and fiscal risk to taxpayers, shows that the true cost of California’s oil and gas is staggering and unsustainable.”  
 
The report is based on a review and application of published sources, including state, nonprofit, and scientific studies. For the report, Black Gold: The $10 Trillion Cost Of California’s Oil, see: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/costofoil
 
Here are how the costs break down through 2045:
 

Fossil Fuel Effect Annual Costs
Wildfires and Drought $94.2 Billion
Heat-Related Deaths From CA Oil Wells $1.4 Billion
Air Pollution $339 Billion
Total Annual Cost $434.6 Billion
Cumulative Cost Through 2045 (23 YRs) $10.0 Trillion

 
“The true cost of oil in the form of worsening climate change, wildfires and drought, causing health effects from smoke inhalation to death, is eye-popping,” said the report’s author, consumer advocate Liza Tucker. “These astronomical costs confirm that we have to act faster than we currently are to get off fossil fuels for the sake of Californians’ health and futures.”
 
The report is promoted today in a full-page Sacramento Bee ad by Greenpeace, Consumer Watchdog, CA Nurses for Environmental Health & Justice, and environmental justice coalition  VISION (Voices in Solidarity Against Oil In Neighborhoods).  The groups are members of Last Chance Alliance, a 900-member strong alliance of organizations urging Governor Gavin Newsom to stop awarding drilling permits, drop current drilling in favor of a fast transition to renewables, and to end all neighborhood drilling in the state.
 
The ad points out oil and gas companies spent nearly $77.5 million on lobbying in California over the last three years to defeat climate and public health policies.  Oil companies in the U.S. stand to collect $126 billion in wartime profits this year, while leaving Californians paying almost four times more annually than these profits in harm to their health and their futures. The ad links to an LCA letter urging Newsom to rein in polluter greed and protect Californians.
 
For the ad and the letter, see: http://www.lastchancealliance.org/rein-in-polluter-greed
 
The report concludes: “Governor Newsom’s goal for the state to be carbon neutral by 2045 will not come to pass if his Administration continues to approve oil and gas permits for new wells and to rework existing wells. The permit count has gone past 10,000 permits since he took office in January 2019, rivaling the number issued by former Governor Jerry Brown, a major oil industry supporter. ….Tardiness invites irreversible destruction. Meanwhile the costs of fossil fuels on California are only going in one direction—up.”

– 30 –

Liza Tucker
Liza Tucker
Liza Tucker is a consumer advocate for Consumer Watchdog, following everything from oil and gas to the regulation of toxic substances in the state of California. She comes to us from Marketplace, the largest U.S. broadcast show on business and economics heard by ten million listeners each week on 400 radio stations. Liza worked at this public radio show for a decade, first as Commentary Editor and then as Senior Editor for both Washington and Sustainability News.

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