Global warming hysteria has turned into ineffective climate change regulations that now threaten economic recovery in California.
When AB 32 or, The Global Warming Solutions Act, was passed in 2006 by the California legislature and signed into law by then Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, it was hailed as the wave of the future. According to its co-sponsor the Environmental Defense Fund, setting statewide limits on greenhouse gasses would lead to a sustainable, clean energy economy that would set an example for the rest of the world to emulate.
As a result, draconian environmental goals were set to:
1. Achieve a 33% level of renewable energy by 2020
2, Develop a cap and trade program to allow companies that produce high volumes of greenhouse emissions to buy energy from companies which produce lower ones. The idea of this is to encourage the use of solar and wind sources even if they are not economically feasible.
3. Set standards for transportation and urban development to reduce greenhouse emissions and decrease the dependence on automobile travel.
4. Expand and strengthen energy efficiency programs for everything from appliances to household electricity use.
5. In the name of reducing global warming, it was hoped to improve air quality standards throughout the state to 1990 levels by 2020.
By a twist of fate, most of these objectives have already been achieved but primarily because of improving gas mileage and the lowering of emission levels by improvements made by automobile manufacturers. At the same time the theory of Global Warming has not stood up well to scientific scrutiny. The phenomena of higher temperatures throughout the world simply has not happened as doom sawyer’s predicted.
As it turned out Environmental-Union coalition behind the Global Warming movement were not about to denounce the government programs and regulatory powers they assumed. Instead this lobby replaced Global warming with Climate Change regulations and attached all of their policies to less stringent scientific standards.
According to climate change theory, temperatures on the earth are constantly evolving and subject to variances of nature and to man. Anything they could do to neutralize this process would be a plus. This meant continuing support AB 32, SB 375 which followed, along with the regulatory bells and whistles could be justified.
As might be expected neither the news media nor political opposition thwarted the subtle bait and switch that had transpired. To make citizens believe they were saving the planet, such terms as Coastal Protection, Spare the Air Day, Reduction of Carbon foot prints and Sustainable Communities were attached to sell new environmental policies and senseless climate change regulations.
No rational individual could oppose such lofty objectives. In fact arguing against climate change has become like contesting “point of information” in Robert’s Rule’s of order. Only a lunatic would do such a thing or so it seemed. The State’s deficit-plagued check book was opened up to finance everything from subsidized public housing to mass transit at a cost of hundreds of billions of tax payer dollars.
Climate change as a mechanism to propel government policy has proven to be a real winner for the elites but not the working Joe. Where global warming asserted that burning of fossil fuels had a direct effect on weather, its successor modified this assertion to demote the world’s inhabitants to being only role players in this process. How great man’s influence actually might be cannot be measured one way or another. The State’s philosophy seems to be spend money first, measure the effects and disatrous impacts of these policies later with virtually no accountability.
Since Climate change occurs as an evolutionary process droughts, floods, and hurricanes occur no matter what bills are passed by legislature bodies or rulings handed down by regulatory agencies. In this way it can be argued that the government must intercede or nature will respond by punishing mankind by making life miserable for those who don’t follow the edicts of environmentalists.
Lost in this equation is the notion of force majeure, which has been defined on the back of marine insurance policies for the last 3000 years as an act of God or nature for which there is no control. This concept is being challenged by progressive types who feel they can influence the course of “mother nature” by regulating climate change.
For the super majority in the California Legislature and the Environmental lobby in Washington D.C., this is a marriage made in heaven. Additional climate change regulations ranging from the Environmental Protection Agency to the One Plan Bay Area now own the playing field not only where people live, but what they will be allowed to do with their lives.
A really big fly in the ointment is that not everyone is going along with the Global Warming-Climate change narrative as hockey sticks and questionable weather models fail to account for reality. While California concerns itself with cap and trade, high taxes, extensive governmental regulations, astronomic worker comp costs, and other job killer measures, businesses choose to move out of State where they can operate with less interference.
Indicative of this, Tesla Motors, the pride of Silicon Valley who manufacture electric cars, is planning to construct a plant to produce high tech batteries that will eventually employ over 6000 workers. Where will this new facility be built? Sites being considered are in Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas.
California is not even on the list despite Tesla corporate being located in Palo Alto. Setting up a manufacturing facility there is simply too expensive. With this scenario repeating itself over and over again one wonders when the Golden State will realize that they are losing the battle every day to compete in the national and international marketplaces.
Meanwhile, oblivious to all of thisl, the California Legislature has continued to pass restrictive new laws which the California Chamber of Commerce has labeled “job killer” in nature. No one seems to care. The progressive coalition are getting exactly what they want courtesy of climate change concerns.
Big government supports pay and benefits for its growing work force, craft unions are only able to supply labor for construction projects using any public financing and environmentalists are able to find employment (with high self-esteem) to regulate the whole mess. This progressive formula serves the Super Majority in the legislature at the expense of a dwindling middle class and small business owners in California who pay for this by being accessed stifling tax bills.
The problem today is that few understand the losing spiral California is engaging in. The State still has immense natural and geographic resources that hide deficiencies of governmental policies. A climate producing ideal conditions for agriculture, ports which provide a window for international trade to Asia, and living conditions that most of the country envies are advantages inhabitants of the “Left Coast” still have.
How long it will take the residents of California to wake up and see they are out of touch with the rest of the world? When will they realize that these environmental policies and climate change regulations are wrecking the State’s economy and threatening future prosperity?
This is not to say that the State should go back to a complete cowboy mentality that existed back in the Gold Rush days. Protecting the environment should continue to play an important role in formulating governmental policy but it should not be used as a tool to build a socialistic utopia envisioned by the current elected officials in Sacramento.
Most importantly…where has all the nanny state laws and climate change regulations gotten us?
Writing today about California’s loss of its traditional energy employers to Texas, Joel Kotkin, in the Orange County Register asks:
What about “green jobs”? Overall, California leads in green jobs, simply by dint of size; but on a per-capita basis, notes a recent Brookings study, California is about average. In wind energy, in fact, California is not even in first place; that honor goes to, of all places, Texas, which boasts twice California’s level of production.
Ironically, one reason for this mediocre performance lies in environmental regulations that make California a tough place even for renewables. Even the New York Times has described Gov. Jerry Brown’s promise about creating a half-million new jobs as something of a “pipe dream.” Even though surviving solar firms are busy, in part to meet the state’s strict renewable mandates, solar firms acknowledge that they won’t be doing much of the manufacturing here, anyway.
The would-be visionaries who manage the state are selling Californians a lot of pixie dust. Barely 700,000 Americans work in green energy, including building retrofits, compared with 9 million in fossil fuels. Nationwide employment in solar and wind, meanwhile, is well under 200,000. Overall, officials with fossil-fuel-related companies predict 1.4 million jobs in the sector by 2030.