Skip to comments.CA: Carbon's Kindergarten Cop [Arnold's Costly Climate Change Folly]
Posted on 05/16/2006 10:28:17 PM PDT by calcowgirl
A wise investor puts her money in investments that offer the highest returns at the lowest cost. A poor investor puts his money in investments that offer low returns at a higher cost. I don't know what you'd call an investor who puts lots of money into "investments" that offer no benefits, but "Schwarzenegger" might be a good label.
The Governor's pledge to lower greenhouse gas emissions in California to 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050 will bring Californians little or no environmental benefit, while costing the citizenry a substantial amount of money. The Governor has long pandered to California's environmental interest groups, but as an earlier (and wiser) Republican Governor named Reagan observed, "Facts are stubborn things." So let's look at the stubborn facts.
If it worked perfectly, the legislation now in front of the California Legislature -- largely in line with the Governor's plan -- would lower California greenhouse gas emissions by 145 million tons by the year 2020. That might sound like a large reduction. But let's do some math.
Global emissions of greenhouse gases in 2020 are estimated to be about 12.6 billion tons of carbon dioxide. If California avoids emitting 145 million tons of greenhouse gases, that's about a one percent reduction of global greenhouse gas emissions. One percent still seems like a lot, right? Well, only if you don't take the next step and figure out what benefit it provides. Despite people mislabeling greenhouse gases as "pollutants," greenhouse gases are non-toxic: the only benefit you get from reducing them is to avoid some degree of global warming in the future.
Now, the predicted warming by the year 2020 according to the absolute worst-case computer models of the United Nations is about 4/10ths of one degree (Fahrenheit). If we make the assumption that California's action will knock out temperature change equal to its greenhouse gas reductions (1 percent) we see that California's actions will avert about four one-hundredths of a degree of warming, an amount far too little to measure, much less to offer any benefits to Californians (or anyone else, for that matter).
So much for benefits, let's talk about costs. California politicians like to talk about California as if it were a country. So, let's pretend that's true, and assume the likely cost of GHG reductions in California will be similar to what's been estimated in other high-tech, economically-powerful countries.
A 2002 study looked at the impact of greenhouse gas reductions on the economies of four European countries with goals about 20 percent weaker than what the Governor is proposing, so we'll call those least-cost estimates. Germany, according to that study, would lose nearly 3 percent of its gross domestic product and up to 1.3 million jobs annually by 2020, and ever after. The Netherlands would lose about 2 percent of GDP, and up to 180,000 jobs, while the UK would also lose about 2 percent of GDP, which could cost them up to 750,000 jobs.
What could the Governor do if he was serious about the threats posed by our ever-changing climate? The best thing he could do would be to drop the ludicrous idea of instituting global weather control via greenhouse gas controls and focus on making California's infrastructure resilient in the face of any climate change from any cause. For example, he might fix the perverse incentives that led people to put houses and business down in areas sensitive to small fluctuations in water supply, or weather. He might crusade against insurance subsidies that enable people to build (and repeatedly rebuild) in flood plains, on eroding beachfronts, on the ever-sliding hills of Malibu, or other regions particularly susceptible to climate-induced damage. He might end water subsidies that let farmers grow water-intensive crops in the desert, while wasting massive quantities of fresh water. He might work to establish competitive free markets in energy, agriculture and transportation to make these vital goods lean, mean, responsive machines.
It's not easy to communicate the idea that a policy of resilience and adaptability is in the best interests of Californians. Indeed, in the changing climate of California politics, it's apparently easier to play the role of carbon's Kindergarten Cop.
 Speaker Nunez and Assemblymember Pavley Introduce Groundbreaking Bill to Curb Global Warming, Spur Technology Investments, press release, Speaker Fabian Nunex, 46th Assembly district (http://democrats.assembly.ca.gov/members/a46/press/a462006050.htm).
 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change: The Scientific Basis (2001). The high-end emission scenario for 2020 predicts 12,640 Gtons Carbon Equivalent emissions. (p.801).
 Ibid., p. 555, 0.7 degrees Centigrade converts to 0.38 degrees Fahrenheit.
 ACCF, Kyoto Protocol and Beyond: Economic Impacts on EU Countries
GOVERNORS BUDGET - May Revision 2006-07
The May Revision revises the Governors Climate Change Initiative proposal to reflect the final report of the Climate Action Team. The January Governors Budget proposes $7.2 million and 23.4 positions to implement greenhouse gas emission reduction strategies.
The May Revision proposes an additional $500,000, for a total of $7.7 million, for climate change activities.
Climate Change Initiative
The May Revision proposes an augmentation of $500,000 Air Pollution Control Fund to enable the Secretary for Environmental Protection to evaluate options for the establishment of a mandatory climate change emissions reporting program and to develop climate change emissions reporting protocols for local and regional governments.
In June 2005, the Governor issued an executive order that established greenhouse gas emission reduction targets. The executive order also directed the Secretary for Environmental Protection, in collaboration with other state agencies, to prepare a report that identifies actions necessary to meet the emission reduction targets. The Climate Action Team submitted its report to the Governor and Legislature in March 2006. The final Climate Action Team report included specific recommendations for mandatory emissions reporting from the largest sources and the development of climate change emissions reporting protocols for local governments. This proposal will provide $500,000 for these emissions reporting activities, consistent with the Climate Action Teams recommendations.
This is so ridiculous. By that time, he'll be dead. California will have fallen into the sea. We'll be viewing the gasoline engine the same way we presently think of the horse and buggy.
---for climate change activities---
Rain dance lessons?
The final Climate Action Team report included specific recommendations for mandatory emissions reporting from the largest sources and the development of climate change emissions reporting protocols for local governments. This proposal will provide $500,000 for these emissions reporting activities, consistent with the Climate Action Teams recommendations.
Sí, baile de la lluvia
bien digno de el dinero
If you own a successful business today, I'd like to invite you to Nevada where we can cut your overhead by probably 17% right away and guarantee that we won't do something stupid like electing an actor who thinks he is a scientist.
¡Los extranjeros ilegales no contaminan!
In other words, why get into that messy business of cutting spending and reducing the size of state government when you can do something "green" instead that is bound to find favor with the environmental wackos.
He deserves the election loss he's headed toward.
Or... why bother being fiscally responsible and using that tax revenue for things like infrastructure when you can borrow the money and sell in to the electorate in another deceptive campaign and have all of this green mumbo-jumbo at the same time? Never mind the negative impact to economic factors pointed out in the article. Apparently following the Euorpean model is Arnold's agenda.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.