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Protest disrupts morning at Sempra Energy headquarters

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Matthew Bowler
/
KPBS
Protesters outside Sempra Energy headquarters in downtown San Diego on Oct. 12, 2022

Climate advocates disrupted the beginning of the day for Sempra Energy workers in downtown San Diego.

Up to a dozen people physically blocked the entrance of the Fortune 500 company’s underground parking structure, making it hard for company workers to get to their job.

Sempra is the parent company of San Diego Gas and Electric and Southern California Gas.

“They want to position themselves as a truly sustainable transition company as we transition to clean energy, but that’s really not the case,” said Phil Petrie, of San Diego 350, a local climate advocacy group. “They mostly deal in methane and methane is an extremely potent greenhouse gas.

Pertie said the company is contributing to global warming which is intensifying the impact of hurricanes, wildfires and droughts.

“Whenever you burn any kind of fossil fuels you release carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere and CO2 is what causes global warming,” Petrie said.

The carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is going up, according to Petrie, which raises the bar on the severity of extreme weather events.

San Diego 350 says the energy company is building more fossil fuel production and distribution facilities so they can boost exports of liquefied natural gas.

They want Sempra to stop expanding its fossil fuel portfolio and to lower energy rates.

The advocacy group says Sempra is profiteering from skyrocketing energy rates which is creating a financial hardship for a quarter of its customers.

"The fact is, sustainability is at the core of our business strategy,” said Sempra Energy in an emailed statement. “Our business is centered on investments in energy networks, including in California, where we are helping enable wind, solar and lower-carbon energy sources like hydrogen and renewable natural gas.”

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