Friday, April 24, 2009

Speech to AIChE on June 16 2009

I had originally been scheduled to speak on October 27, 2009 in Long Beach, California. However, due to scheduling conflicts I have agreed to speak on June 16, 2009 to the Southern California chapter of AIChE. The topic is California's Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006: What Chemical Engineers Should Know.

This meeting will be at the
Quiet Cannon in Montebello, California. The GWSA, aka AB 32, has several important aspects of interest not only to chemical engineers, but other engineering disciplines also. The overall purpose of the Act is to reduce climate warming by essentially eliminating CO2 and other greenhouse gases (GHG). It is doubtful whether there is any link between GHG concentrations and global temperature, according to many who investigate the underlying data and analysis. Even so, this landmark Act is now the law in California, and includes certain specific steps to achieve the GHG reduction goal.

Some of the industries and activities targeted by the Act include:

Petroleum Refining
Chemicals Manufacturing
Hydrogen Production
Power Plants
Transportation Fuels and Motor Vehicles

Ethanol and other Bio-fuels
Cement Plants
Bio-mass Methane Capture
Dry Cleaning (potentially)
"Green" Building Materials
High-performance Batteries
Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS)

There is a cap and trade provision that will impact many areas.

The presentation will briefly discuss the history and purpose of GWSA, the timeline and events for implementing its goals, the current situation, then focus on impacts on industry sectors, and conclude with what to expect next. Chemical engineers will have great opportunities and challenges in many industry sectors as a result of AB 32 requirements.

Mr. Sowell will discuss how the GWSA meshes with and complements other California legislation, and future federal legislation along similar lines.

Thank you to Mr. Alan E. Benson, AIChE Southern California chapter president, for extending the invitation.
UPDATE: June 17, 2009

This meeting was very well-attended with approximately 50 very attentive engineers. I was pleased to announce that the NorCal section of AIChE has asked me to make this speech on September 17th, which I am delighted to accept. Also, I will write a paper based on this speech and present the paper in November at AIChE's Annual Meeting in Nashville, Tennessee. I am also honored to be a panelist in a panel discussion comprised of five attorneys who are also chemical engineers at the annual meeting. The panel topic is Global Warming Laws.

The meeting in Montebello was a great success, with wonderful audience participation and many excellent questions following the speech. This topic is of keen interest to chemical engineers. I am grateful to all those who introduced themselves to me both before and after the speech, and the many kind words about the presentation. As I promised, I have made available copies of the slides used in the presentation, and will send a copy to those who request them via email at

Roger E. Sowell, Esq.
Contact Roger Sowell at this website.

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