The town I live in, Chico, CA is sometimes known as “Berkeley North” due to the liberal influence of Chico State University (CSUC). In this case, CSUC’s sustainability cabal, led by Professor Mark Stemen and Mayor Ann Schwab, has snookered our town into passing a “Climate Action Plan”.
Last Tuesday, our city council (who’s been deep in the red financially) approved by a 6 to 1 vote, the “Climate Action Plan” (CAP) from the “Sustainability Task Force”. It’s quite the hoot, because as I point out, they could buy “carbon indulgences”, for less than the cost of the “studies” money, and be done with it rather than continue to waste everybody’s time and effort. But in my opinion, the CAP really isn’t about results, it is about a continued agenda and public funds being used to support that agenda.
Here’s the story on it:
Full story here
Here’s what went down in discussion:
But Councilor Larry Wahl contested whether a Climate Action Plan, or its subsequent directives, would produce any “tangible benefit” to Chico.
“I do not literally see what this will accomplish … Will the sky be bluer? Will anything be prettier?” Wahl asked.
Holcombe said he didn’t want the city to take the chance that it wouldn’t.
“Nature is not waiting and certainly I don’t want the city of Chico to wait,” Holcombe said.
The rest of the council supported Holcombe.
By a 6-1 vote with Wahl dissenting, the council directed the creation of a Climate Action Plan, simultaneously approving a number of actions to be implemented in the first phase of the plan.
Here’s the Climate Action Plan (PDF) as it was approved that night. You’ll find it starting on page 80 of the meeting agenda. The Enterprise Record wrote a scathing editorial on it:
Full editorial here.
I had identified the same issues, but took it a step further with my letter to the editor I sent, citing what I recently discovered about the Chicago Climate Exchange:
Regarding the recently passed city “Climate Action Plan,” one good idea is the installation of LED street lighting. While it won’t do much to offset carbon dioxide (since power plants program for lower idle loads at night) it will save money due to increased power efficiency. Anything minimizing expense and waste is a good thing for our spend-happy city government.
Besides this misguided but fiscally sensible idea, I note this in the Climate Action Plan: “Carbon Offsets Goal 1: Purchase Carbon Offsets Where Cost Effective.”
Since Team Schwab seems determined to waste money on this, I’ll point out three things:
1. Carbon offset trading in the USA is essentially dead. Even Sen. Harry Reid admits this. The Senate failed to pass cap and trade.
2. If they must waste money, don’t wait, do it now, because carbon offsets at the Chicago Climate Exchange are going for the bargain price of 5 cents per ton, down from the heyday highs of $7.50 per ton. See www.chicagoclimatex.com.
A bag of charcoal briquettes is worth more right now.
3. The plan said Chico emits 516,000 tons of carbon. At that price, we can offset the whole town for $25,800, far less than the cost of the actual city “Climate Plan.”
Maybe the council should buy boatloads of carbon credits at 5 cents per ton then resell it to the clueless Europeans trading carbon at nearly $20 per ton (see www.ecx.eu).
Yeah, that’s the ticket out of our city financial crisis.
Here’s the price today:
Waste money now, or later? That is the question.
For the record, I like LED lighting, and I put my money where my mouth is.
My view of carbon offsets? The City of Chico could buy them here, save our public funds, and they’d be just as effective. In fact, if they print them on this paper, the 69 cents a sheet paper would actually be worth more than the 5 cents per ton of carbon they “offset”.
Such a deal, sounds just like a job for our city government.
UPDATE: I’ve added the PowerPoint presentation given at the City Council Meeting which you can download here: CityCouncil9-7