Election day is just two weeks away and Global Exchange is working hard on an electoral campaign in California challenging the oil industry over a measure that has significant national and global implications.

Big polluters, Koch Industries and Texas oil companies Valero and Tesoro, are spending millions promoting a deceptive initiative on California’s ballot, Proposition 23, trying to kill the state’s Global Warming Solutions Act. A recent editorial in the Sacramento Bee stated “If Proposition 23 were to pass on Nov. 2, it would be a major setback to state, national and international efforts to fight global warming.”

“The Stakes are High”
Recognizing California’s importance as a bellweather state that leads the nation to new environmental standards, economist Thomas Friedman recently wrote in the New York Times about the Prop 23 battle and quoted George Shultz stating that “if we get something that is working here to clean up the air and launch a clean-tech industry, it will go national and maybe international. So the stakes are high.”

We must stop the oil industry’s Prop 23 from blocking our environmental legislation and prevent Prop 23 from harming the burgeoning green economy, green jobs, clean tech and renewable energy investments.  During the current economic downturn, the clean tech sector has been the only sector adding jobs.

Help Global Exchange defend and advance the green economy by defeating Prop 23! Take action today!

If you’re in California, you can volunteer with the campaign by distributing campaign materials, making phone calls to voters and assisting at events. For more on volunteer opportunities, e-mail June [at] globalexchange [dot] org.

California residents should also check out the Climate Energy Tour (a fiscally sponsored project of Global Exchange) that is traveling the state utilizing solar powered hip hop concerts to motivate and inform people to vote NO on Prop 23. The tour kicked off on 10/10/10 in Oakland and will visit Santa Barbara (Oct 16), Los Angeles (Oct 19), San Diego (Oct 21), and Sacramento (Nov 1) to inspire audiences to join with Communities United Against The Dirty Energy Prop.

Not in California? You can still get involved to spread the word about this important proposition.

  • Tell your family and friends in California why they should vote NO on Prop 23.
  • Phone from your home to California voters to urge them to vote NO on 
Prop 23.  To get plugged in, call June at 415-575-5542.
  • Write a letter to the editor of a California newspaper. See letter writing tools.
  • Use your social media tools like Facebook and Twitter.
  • DONATE! We’re up against Big Oil’s deep pockets and we count on donations from people like you to succeed.

With oil interests spending millions to confuse voters, the polls indicate that the vote is likely to be close.  To defeat Prop 23, we need all the help we can get in the last weeks before the vote on November 2nd.

For more information about the No on Prop 23 campaign, contact June at 415-575-5542 or email June [at] globalexchange [dot] org. Also visit the websites of Global Exchange’s coalition partners: 
Communities United Against The Dirty Energy Prop & Stop the Dirty Energy Prop.

"Solutionaries" attend Green Festival in Chicago, May 2010

The average lifetime of a species on planet earth is about one million years. Seeing as we humans are about 200,000 years old, you could say that we are exiting our adolescence and entering adulthood. We are waking up to the simple fact that our actions have consequences, such as degrading the environment, and we need to take responsibility for those consequences.

Correspondingly, progressive forces around the world are going through a maturing process, transitioning from being focused on protest (complaining about what we don’t like), to being focused on projects (actually building the next system—sustainability). We are going from a largely negative approach—standing up in opposition to things we define as bad (war, environmental destruction, inequality, injustice)—to creating the alternative institutions that will eventually become mainstream.

The term Solutionary is far better than revolutionary because it carries none of the negative, destructive connotations of revolution. The human race is entering a new epoch. Every revolution up until now has been a national process, with the revolutionaries seeking to gain control of the capital city in order to run that nation differently. The current transition is a global revolution in values: making a transition from a system where money values rule over the life cycle to one where life values rule over the money cycle.

Solutionaries can be activists or entrepreneurs. They know that the key skill set is organizing. They see each problem in the world as an opportunity for action that fixes the problem or at least lessens the suffering and increases the joy. Here are some examples.

Solutionaries look at the inequality in the world economy and address it by:
• opening Fair Trade shops that sell craft products made by low-income producer groups;
• developing Fair Trade certification systems (e.g., TransFairUSA) to educate consumers and drive revenue to the poorest;
• providing financing and technical assistance to grassroots groups in the global south so they can earn their way out of poverty and not be dependent on charity.

Solutionaries look at the fact that we are running out of clean, drinkable water, and they use that fact as the starting point for:
• inventing waterless urinals that each save 40,00 gallons of water per year;
• designing rain catchment systems;
• educating the public about the bogus bottled water industry and promoting the use of reusable water containers filled with tap water.

Huge crowds enjoy the Green Festivals in Washington, DC, San Francisco, Seattle and Chicago.

Solutionaries look at the 245 million tons of garbage we Americans send to landfills every year and they address it by:

• starting companies such as TerraCycle, which makes dozens of products from waste materials;
• launching recycling and composting programs that divert waste into productive uses (e.g., San Francisco diverts 72% of its waste into recycling and composting, generating income and saving money in landfill costs);
• expanding the Green Festivals, which for nine years have brought together hundreds of thousands of solutionaries and divert more than 90% of the events’ waste into recycling and composting.

So, from now on, when you see a problem in the world, put on your SOLUTIONARY hat and think of how that problem is an opportunity and a challenge to your creativity to find an organizational answer to the problem.

We can either curse the darkness, or we can create cooperative workshops making beeswax candles.

Are you a Solutionary? Check out this video where I discuss how we can unite Solutionaries. And if you have solutionary ideas, we’d love to hear from you!

Back by Popular Demand! In December 2009, we held the first Green Career Webinar here at Global Exchange. It was our first Webinar and the response was great. (The event sold out!) Clearly people are hungry for green jobs. So after making a few tweaks based on feedback from participants we’re hosting a second Green Career Webinar this Thursday, June 3rd at Noon PST. Just $10 gets you in.

This webinar will feature Carol McClelland, PhD and Kevin Danaher, PhD for a 60-minute interactive webinar conversation and Q&A about green careers.

During this second edition Webinar participants will learn:

• A simple visual map of the over 50 industries and sectors that make up the green economy;
• A tactical way to find the green career focus that matches your experience and passions;
• Practical job search strategies you can use to land your green job

There will be a Q&A session following the presentation.

Get to Know the Webinar hosts:

Carol McClelland is the author of Green Careers For Dummies and the Founder and Executive Director of Green Career Central, a full-service online resource center dedicated to providing career guidance, coaching, and resources to clarify the ever-evolving world of green career possibilities for professionals and career counselors. Her website is filled with lots of great information and articles (lots of it free!) for folks looking to find their dream green career.

Kevin Danaher is Co-Founder of Global Exchange, Founder and Executive Co-Producer of the Green Festivals, and Executive Director of the Global Citizen Center. He has spoken at universities and  community organizations throughout the U.S. on issues ranging from the dynamics of the global economy to how we can replace the power of transnational corporations with local green economy networks. Dr. Danaher has published numerous articles and is the author and/or editor of twelve books, including his latest, “Building the Green Economy: Success Stories from the Grass Roots“.

Who doesn’t love a good testimonial? Check out these quotes from past Webinar participants:

“An excellent webinar filled with useful information.”
“Nice job. Well worth the $10.”
“It was indeed informative.”
“Very well run.”
“Thanks so much. That was awesome.”

Now is YOUR Time to Find the Green Career You’ve Always Wanted!

The goal of this Webinar is for you to leave with practical next steps to realizing your dream green career. So if you or someone you know is interested in learning more about Green Careers and how to find yours today, we hope you join us this Thursday at Noon PST for the Green Careers Webinar. Register today to guarantee your spot. Since the first Green Webinar sold out, it’s possible that may happen again.

NOTE – in February, The Chevron Program at Global Exchange will launch The Chevron Program blog.

Today, Chevron announced that it is shrinking its refining business, including laying off workers. It did not say where or which refinery or refineries would be affected. It will announce the change in March.

Over the past several weeks, Chevron has intensified the buzz around the potential that it could shut down the Richmond, California refinery.

I would not have thought this likely even two months ago. But, as demand has slackened for oil and gas due to the recession, the U.S. has literally become awash in both products and refineries are losing lots of money. Last time this happened, in the 1980’s, it opened the door to a wave of mega mergers in the oil industry, including the shuttering of many refineries. This may well happen again now.

It is also possible that Chevron is simply trying to pressure the plaintiffs in the Richmond lawsuit as it continues with its appeal.

Chevron does not want to face the situation where it is limited in the type of crude it refines in Richmond, even though doing so would increase the health of Richmond and Bay Area residents and reduce the Green House Gas (GHG) footprint of the refinery – the single largest stationary emitter of GHGs in the entire state. The efforts to make the refinery as clean and safe as possible must continue to be supported.

It is critical that we follow this process and ensure that if the refinery does close, that Chevron is required to, at a minimum, fully clean-up the land on which it resides and train its laid off workers. The city must also take part in a transparent public planning effort to focus on clean, healthy, sustainable green jobs and business to replace Chevron.

If it stays open, we must continue the struggle to make it as clean, safe, and transparent as possible.

Two key news articles follow.

Antonia Juhasz
Chevron Program Director
Global Exchange

Chevron to shrink refining business
Associated Press

January 19, 2010 | 10:34 a.m.

NEW YORK — Chevron Corp. said today it plans to shrink its refining business in a move that will cut jobs throughout the company.

Chevron hasn’t yet decided how many of its employees will be affected and whether the cuts will be concentrated in the U.S. A spokesman said the company is reviewing its entire downstream operation and will announce more details about how it plans to reorganize in March.

Chevron’s refining business will be “a less complex and smaller organization that will require fewer positions,” spokesman Lloyd Avram said.

Petroleum refineries have struggled to make money as oil prices doubled from early 2009 while demand for gasoline and jet fuel dropped. Independent refiners shuttered some of their operations last year, and others are running at the lowest levels since 1991.

Chevron, the second-largest U.S. oil company, has warned investors that profits will shrink in the fourth quarter, primarily because of its refining business.

According to an interim report released earlier this month, Chevron said fourth-quarter profit margins were about 39 percent lower than last year for its Gulf Coast refineries. They were 59 percent lower in Singapore and 45 percent lower in Europe.

Avram said the company hasn’t decided when to announce job cuts. However, changes to the company’s refining business are expected to be in place by the third quarter, he said.

Chevron shares gave up 6 cents at $79.17 in Tuesday trading.

Copyright © 2010, The Los Angeles Times

UPDATE: Chevron Lays Off Workers As Part Of Downstream Restructuring
Dow Jones
January 19, 2010: 11:40 AM ET

(Adds analyst comments and background)

By Isabel Ordonez

HOUSTON -(Dow Jones)- Chevron Corp. (CVX) said Tuesday it is going to eliminate an unspecified number of jobs as part of a review of its global marketing and refining operations that will result in a smaller business.

Employees of Chevron’s downstream operations, which manufacture, transport and sell gasoline, diesel fuel and other refined products, had been notified of the decision Monday, spokesman Lloyd Avram told Dow Jones Newswires.

“The new organization will ensure that our downstream business remains competitive well into the future,” he said.

The San Ramon, Calf.-based company said it has not yet decided how many people will be laid off, but that the changes will take place by the third quarter. The restructuring will include exiting some markets, the company said without providing details.

The move comes as the downstream business has become much less profitable than it has been in recent years due to weak demand for fuel. Chevron warned investors last week in its interim update that it expects its fourth-quarter earnings to be lower than the previous quarter, driven by a “sharp” decline in profits from its refining and marketing business.

“This restructuring is not surprising because Chevron’s downstream business is an area that has been struggling from a profitability stand point,” said Jason Gammel, analysts at Macquarie Research. “It’s not just Chevron, it’s the whole industry.”

The entire energy sector has been dealing with the effects of slackening demand for fuel caused by the global economic downturn. The refining sector has been especially hard hit and several plants were idled or indefinitely closed in 2009.

Valero Energy Corp. (VLO), the largest independent refiner in North America, closed a major gasoline refinery in Delaware in November and laid off 550 workers. Sunoco Inc. (SUN) also shut down its Eagle Point refinery in Westville, N.J., last year and furloughed 400 workers in October last year in response to a poor operating environment.

Chevron’s move is the last in a series of changes to its refining and marketing operations. In December, Chevron said it will stop supplying more than a thousand independently owned filling stations in the eastern U.S. a moved that followed the company’s exit last year from marketing operations in Brazil and various countries in Africa. The company has also said in the past that the reviewing of its global downstream operations could include the closure of its Hawaii refinery.

Last month, Chevron said its 2010 capital budget will be $21.6 billion, 5% lower than its 2009 budget, as it focuses on exploration and development of oil and natural gas at the expense of refining.

Other major oil companies have engaged in major transformations in order to face the economic downturn. Houston-based ConocoPhillips said in October it will sell approximately $10 billion worth of assets over the next two years. In early 2009, the company cut its capital spending and laid off lay off thousands of workers. Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA) last year also said it would lay off 5, 000 people to cope with the difficult economic environment.

Chevron is the second-largest U.S. oil company by market value after Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM).

-By Isabel Ordonez, Dow Jones Newswires; 713-547-9207; isabel.ordonez@ dowjones.com (Angel Gonzalez and Susan Daker in Houston contributed to this report.)

(END) Dow Jones Newswires
01-19-10 1140ET
Copyright (c) 2010 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

Antonia Juhasz
The Chevron Program
Global Exchange
2017 Mission Street, 2nd Floor
San Francisco, CA 94110