Carnegie senior fellow, Deborah Gordon, spoke with Capital Public Radio, a Sacramento based NPR-affliate about California’s hidden climate risks—its oils—some of which may be among the dirtiest in the world, much like the Canadian oils sands.

Deborah Gordon
Gordon was director of Carnegie’s Energy and Climate Program, where her research focuses on oil and climate change issues in North America and globally.
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“And those are the same oil sands that California didn’t want to take because they were so dirty, but California produces some of its own really dirty oils,” Gordon explained.

The interview referenced two new case studies from Carnegie, Need to Know: The Case for Oil Transparency in California and Drilling Down on Oil: The Case of California’s Complex Midway Sunset Field, which explore the need for greater oil data transparency in order to better understand the risks these fields pose—transparency which would set a standard internationally and continue California’s legacy as a climate leader globally.

Gordon also noted that some of the world’s cleanest oils are produced in the state. “I was shocked right from the beginning at how wide-ranging these emissions were and how little we talk about oil [as] anything other than being an average standard barrel of oil,” said Gordon.

Still, the authors noted that uncertainty abounds without the release of chemical assays, a sort of finger-print for an oil’s composition, which help show how these fields, and their emissions, are changing. 

Gordon added that “there are really big differences between oils, and that really conjures up the challenges involved in managing them well.”

The interview audio and original broadcast can be found on Capital Public Radio.