"Sustainability" continues to run amok in my town

Chico CA - California State University Chico
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I’ve written about this before. We have a group of citizens here in town called the “sustainability task force” which is highly influenced by the eco-zealotry of Chico State University pushing their ideas of how everyone should live onto the citizens of the town.  Just last week, it got worse.

Below is an editorial rebuttal from our local newspaper.

From the Chico Enterprise Record: Hits and Misses 12/11/10

MISS: The Chico City Council just made it more expensive for residents who want to sell older homes.

The council voted 6-1 on Tuesday — with Larry Wahl voting no — to mandate up to $800 in energy efficiency improvements paid by sellers for any house built before 1991. The mandate is the work of the city’s sustainability task force, which falsely promised no government regulations aimed at private individuals.

It’s just another case of the council’s penchant for wanting to dictate how people should live their lives and passing some regulation to do so.

In this case, as we’ve stated before, any home improvements that are needed should be negotiated between the buyer and the seller. If the buyer wants, for example, extra insulation in the attic or better weather stripping on the windows, the buyer can make that part of the purchase offer. Then it’s up to the seller to decide whether to accept that offer or not.

That is how it has always worked, and how it should continue to work.

Here’s the report and agenda (PDF), with a screencap below:

I echo their sentiments in saying: stay out of my house! My home sale is a private transaction and none of your business.

I’m sure we’ll hear in comments from professor Mark Stemen of CSUC, who has blown gaskets (and started name calling) here at WUWT anytime CSUC and this pet group of his is mentioned, to tell us why what we do privately with our homes, is the business of the “sustainability committee”, or the council’s.

I’m all for energy efficiency, but in my opinion, this “mandate” for an $800 energy efficiency upgrade upon a home sale screams for civil disobedience.

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December 15, 2010 12:31 am

This is a prime example of Local Agenda 21 (LA21) in action. I watched a video on YT recently of a similar step adopted by the Austin, TX city council. Despite an informed and impassioned plea by John Bush of Texans for Accountable Government (TAG) the motion passed 7 to 0.

December 15, 2010 12:36 am

I think you are correct to be outraged at this, but, as I said when Hansen was calling for civil disobedience over coal, this is not the way forward
Let democracy have it’s way and vote out the idiots who did this and then disband the committee

Adam Gallon
December 15, 2010 12:44 am

Council busy-bodies, justifying their existance. Why the 1991 cut-off date? The cynic in me suggests that no one on the council lives in a house built before then!

Baa Humbug
December 15, 2010 12:50 am

If Mark Stemen does visit, lets hope he has the intestinal fortitude to stay and answer some questions. Does he?
Does he believe in what he’s advocating?
Does he have the confidence to defend it?
Or will he blow a casket and throw a temper tantrum?
Time will tell

December 15, 2010 12:59 am

Like all politicians over the free world, they are just trying to justify there existence and the only way they can do that is by passing such mandates, if they didn’t pass mandate’s every couple of months and hold open and closed meetings to discuss important policies what would there point be in existing?
Just because the mandate is about as helpful as a chocolate tea pot doesn’t make the job of those who passed it any less important (well to them anyway).

Alan the Brit
December 15, 2010 1:08 am

Dear Mr Watts,
Can I come & live there please, it sounds like heaven compared to good old blighty & the PDRof EU/EUSR! :-)) On a more serious note, this is just the start. They set the agenda, created or at least highjacked the scare story, create the urgency, then before anyone can take a breath & say,”just hold on one cotton picking minute!”, they move on to the debate is over stage & pass legislation left, left, & left, (again) with the stance that whay complain when there is no doubt! As you say, you’re not against energy efficiency, no scientist or engineer would disagree with you, there is always the desire to improve standards, & who wants to burn money for the sake of burning money in the form of engery, but there is no need penalise others just because they choose to live in an older home or have to by default.

December 15, 2010 1:20 am

Sadly, the world is full of busibodies who don’t have enough real work or business to fill in their day. It’s a growing problem where too many feel they are their neighbour’s keeper.
I met a marvellously creative bloke in West Auckland about twenty years ago who had built a life-sized replica of the tail section of a vintage bi-plane that had apparently crashed into the front of his house and was potruding from the the front wall under an eave. I asked him what it was for and he said
“I built it to annoy the nosey old buggers next door who complained to the local council about the unremarkable colours I had painted my house.”
When I asked him how he got approval for it, he said
“I checked all the local bye-laws thoroughly and found it was too small to qualify as an extension and it came within all the rules. A council inspector came after the neighbours went crook about it; he nearly split a gut laughing, said it was odd but OK, then went away again – for ever”.

December 15, 2010 1:25 am

My Dad sold realestate for many years, then a college room mate got into the business. I’ve been around real estate sales my whole life.
One of the things I’ve observed is that the “mandated” garbage often gets done, just long enough to pass inspection, then gets ripped out and tossed in the dumpster so the owner can put in what they want.
I’ve done it. I’ve seen others do it. I’ve had realtors provide the ‘mandated fixtures’ that they take out after the inspection to loan to the next buyer…
One of the most common? You must have CFL bulbs in the bathroom. They make you look like the Night Of The Living Dead when a poor Color Rendering Index (CRI) bulb set is used. Women especially, but some men too, want to look GOOD when they are getting gussied up. Incandencent bulbs make you look good.
So the CFL rack is in for the inspection, then the large designer incandencents get installed right after.
Wast of time, money, effort, sanitity. But hey, what’s government for if not waste…
(Oh, and I have a ‘flushes well’ toilet that will move with me …. )
One of the other favorites is to install the mandated “Kitchen Fluorecent Fixture” and then add in hallogen track lights around the perimieter that will actually be used (folks don’t REALLY want to eat “green eggs and ham” 😉
Sigh. I liked it better when we didn’t live in a Socialist Dictat with Herr Commisar deciding what we wanted…
I’m especially fond of my ‘low flow’ shower that flows quite nicely with the ‘easy out’ restriction washer removed…

December 15, 2010 1:32 am

I bought an REO two years ago. There were no disclosures because “the bank never lived there”. I had many thousands of dollars of repairs to make before it was habitable. However, I knew that would be the case, the price reflected it and I agreed to the deal. That’s how it should work. Energy efficiency should remain a cost/benefit decision and not a city ordinance. Dictating that it will be a seller’s expense and legal responsibility probably can’t be enforced unless they require an inspection. Who will pay for that?
Chico used to be a nice place to live. Send those kids back to classes and don’t let them tell you what to do until they know something!

December 15, 2010 1:33 am

At least you get to call them out, and stand a chance at representation with the council.
Here in the UK we get it mandated from above, now the taxpayer throws money at subsidising eco home improvements. I’m all for insulation etc, but subsidising PV solar is just pissing money up the wall.
I looked into the “free” solar panels I could apply for – they will chuck up about £10k worth of work for “free” in return for the tariff subsidy – I’d get the “free” electricity.
Or I can choose an “approved” contractor to fit anything from a condensing boiler to solar panels and get half back off the gov. I priced up an example for solar hot water, I could have bought the kit retail, fitted it myself, and STILL be cheaper than paying the “approved” price, including the gov subsidy!
Madness. It can’t go on, we can’t afford it.

UK Sceptic
December 15, 2010 1:44 am

They’ll be dictating what colour toilet paper you can use next…

December 15, 2010 1:46 am

I had a sun-lounge extension built last year (in the UK). Building regulations said that because of the large glass/volume ratio, it had to have a separate heating system from the rest of the house. The piping to the central heating radiator in the sun-lounge was installed, capped-off and covered over during the inspection by the building inspector. An oil-filled radiator was plugged in to the mains. As soon as the inspector signed-off the completion, the oil-filled radiator was removed and the central heating radiator brought out of hiding and installed.
It keeps bureaucrats in employment and makes sure everything costs more. At the end of the day I have a more energy-efficient system than if I’d followed the rules.
It’s just like the energy efficient light bulbs that I get sent for free by my power company (but which I’ve paid for in my bills). When I’ve accumulated too many new ones, I take them for recycling – it keeps more people in employment, making and then recycling rubbish.

Barry Day
December 15, 2010 2:06 am

Talking about the banning of Incandescent bulbs,people like myself who suffer from different types of migraine conditions find fluorescent light bulbs extremely annoying .So like ramps for the disabled so should there be bulbs available for migraine sufferers and if not there will be lots of court cases involving discrimination.

PaulH from Scotland
December 15, 2010 2:09 am

The civil disobedience issue is a thorny one.
There’s quite a spirited debate taking place at the Autonomous Mind blog on this very matter based on a recent post entitled ‘The rules of the game have changed’.
A snippet…
‘All my life I have advocated nothing but lawful, peaceful protest. Growing up I had faith in the structures that have long been positioned as offering stability, reassurance and comfort to the people. Slowly the scales have gradually fallen from my eyes and the reality has come into sharp relief. Peaceful protest is noble, decent, responsible, conformist and utterly futile. The fact is it is treated with contempt by the political class as while it gives people the illusion of involvement in the political process, the politicians can ignore the wishes of the people and press ahead with their own agenda.’
Personally, I think what we’re seeing here is one of the manifestations of the shift from a traditional left vs. right political landscape to an authoritarian vs. libertarian one. British and American citizens are essentially living in a one-party state these days.
And as a result, I suspect we’re going to see lots more blogs discussing civil disobedience.

Cynthia Lauren Thorpe
December 15, 2010 2:12 am

You’re right, obviously ~ and, I just heard good word imagery on how
this stuff happens on many levels…
It’s constructed of many different ‘pyramids’ (ie: top down control) The largest pyramid that houses the others, is a global government, governance…… I truly don’t care how those wordsmiths wiggle (small-minded, egomaniacs bent on having us bow to them) their ‘new and different’ words about the same thing…….but, lest I digress…
There are successive pyramids within the first……(kinda like those silly Russian Weeble Dolls with the headscarves, right?) and the smallest little weeble is the one that’s supposed to irk you when you want to just relax, have a beer, sell your home… however one wants to blow off steam and ‘do their thing’.
These council ‘people’ (and I use that word specifically) are run, perhaps without even knowing it ~ by bigger bureaucrats that do the ‘pain/reward’ thing with them…
It’s that way aaaaaaaaaallllllllllll the way up the myriads of silly pyramids within pyramids to the very tippy top. I know you MUST know this, Anthony…….but, the reason I say it again is that IF YOU LET THEM BUG YOU, THEY’VE WON.
Don’t let them bug you, Anthony, you’re too nice a guy. I believe they are going to be eventually treated like ill-tempered misbehaving mongrels. They will get their justice in due time, even if we don’t personally see it. And……..heck! Look at it this way ~ if you ever needed to sell your home……..you’d have SO MANY FRIENDS ON THIS SITE that’d either come over and help you fix stuff………or……..help pay for some repair………. Why would you EVER wanna get angry when you’d be in line for so great a blessing as seeing some of us help out……. That’s when miracles happen. When regular folks (and…..we’re ALL regular folks) band together and do whatever they can to help out another ‘folk’….. you know??? I’ve seen that stuff work…and it’s amazing.
Till then, just take that seething anger that tends to build in us all when we see injustice used with SUCH stupidity, and laugh ~ or…..do whatever it is that you do *for me it’s long hot bubble baths with the tap running so I can hear the water which is SO soothing… (we’ve just gotten new rainwater tanks, so hey……all the water down here lately is gonna bless me one way or the other…you know?) that makes you smile a bit…….. it’s cathartic, believe me. ………or, I walk on the beach without a soul in sight (‘cept Auggie my Doggie) and I watch the sunset and pretend that when it hits the ocean it’s supposed to fizzle……..I imagine a little ‘fizzle’ and a little ‘eek’ sound as it goes outta sight… then, I laugh and feel good…
Also, any “potentially gnawing anger” *when dealt with properly ~ will result in your growing in leaps and bounds in the wisdom, personality and character departments. Gosh, kiddo. With a heart and mind such as you have…….you’re ‘in like Flynn’ as they say. Either way ~ when you wanna smack em’ ~ know that that’s exactly what evil WANTS you to do. It’s NOT EASY. In fact…….it’s downright tough. But, again……allow the anger to turn into something of gain for yourself. You are AS FREE AS YOUR MIND TELLS YOU THAT YOU ARE. That’s the whole thing, Anthony.
‘They’ (the hahaha ‘king tuts’ and ‘tutesses’) wanna get you p.o.’d. Take what’s meant for evil and turn it into good ~ that’s what that scripture means. That way ~ what was meant for your harm ~ turns out for your betterment………’if’ that is, Mr. Phelps………. you’re up to the task……..an’ I’m kinda certain you must be.
We’re living in the most incredible time in history…let’s learn to enjoy ourselves in it…us sincerely laughing will have them all ‘fall off their respective perches’…little silly potentates…legends in their own minds…. MAKE CERTAIN, Anthony ~ that they don’t ‘get into’ yours, k?
Warm Sisterly Smiles, Kiddo………
C.L. Thorpe

Mike Haseler
December 15, 2010 2:18 am

The really stupid thing is that research shows that when people make energy “savings” by such schemes, all they do is to spend the money saved on other more energy consuming items:
Result: No net energy saving!

December 15, 2010 2:25 am

My favourite is the eco-toilet, especially when installed in busy commercial premises. One gives up after the fifth or six flush.
It’s a huge win for the misanthropes. Water is wasted, frustration heightened, and medieval hygiene prevails.
Bacterial diversity may sound like a joke-line now…but give our green authoritarians a little time. If they can halt the development of dams, nukes and coal in a country like Australia, they can probably see a bright future for typhoid and cholera as traditional, organic population-thinners.

Dave Wendt
December 15, 2010 2:27 am

Every decent man is ashamed of the government he lives under.
H. L. Mencken
Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin to slit throats.
H. L. Mencken

December 15, 2010 2:29 am

Honestly, I don’t know how you and your fellow citizens can put up with this kind of nonsense. If it were me, I would be packing.

Dave Wendt
December 15, 2010 2:37 am

Men are the only animals that devote themselves, day in and day out, to making one another unhappy. It is an art like any other. Its virtuosi are called altruists.
H. L. Mencken
In the United States, doing good has come to be, like patriotism, a favorite device of persons with something to sell.
H. L. Mencken

Ken Hall
December 15, 2010 3:02 am

mosomoso, I wholeheartedly agree about the eco toilet. It seems that the primary function of such items has been sacrificed to achieve a “green” label.
I have wasted far more water trying to get rid of my biological waste due to having to flush many many times, than is saved by the efficient design of the flush!
I went to a Bathroom sales showroom and asked about toilets that actually work. The salesperson tried to get me enthused about how one particular brand used 40% less water than another brand. I asked, “does it get rid of my sh*t in one go? That is all I am concerned about.” He looked at me as if I had actually gone mad.
I would rather get a toilet that uses 15% more water, but gets rid of the waste in one flush, than one that uses 40% less water and needs three or more flushes!

December 15, 2010 3:04 am

Important information. Sustainability is not a normal course of human pursuit. It’s a mass political movement that knows no boundaries. It’s an exclusive club that if you don’t join, you are shunned.
My alma mater invited me to a collaborative event between universities and business. Businesses were largely absent, however, the advertising agency for Al Gore were featured. It was downright sad.
It was like sitting in a room full of bright young minds, the hope of the future, who were being bludgeoned with academic theories, studies and approaches to alter mass human behavior. Lectured that they would rule the labor force in 4 years. What would they do?
No scientists or engineers were present. Only pitchman, organizational behaviorists, business philosophers, bankers and lots of people gloating about not using plastic bottles, drinking less Star Bucks coffee, while driving their BMWs.
After 50 years, you would have thought we had done absolutely nothing to self-improve our environmental and business systems.
This is a full-fledged religious movement and you had better join. Such ordinances will demand further resources for enforcement. More time. More money. If followed, will further immobilize people, discourage them.
Ultimately, that’s not going to happen in America. Free will, self-determination are too important for us to sacrifice for much longer.

kadaka (KD Knoebel)
December 15, 2010 3:12 am

UK Sceptic said on December 15, 2010 at 1:44 am

They’ll be dictating what colour toilet paper you can use next…

What, did you already hear the news? There’s new research out, sponsored by the Sierra Club, Greenpeace, GE, and the UN. It’ll be published in Nature soon. They’ve decisively proven, by the use of advanced computer models, that there is a definite causative link, as established by the high degree of correlation, between the chemicals used for bleaching and coloring of wood fibers and the dramatic decline of a rare Brazilian four-toed purple-spotted yellow tree frog, which has been exacerbated by and expected to get worse due to the extreme rise in atmospheric concentrations of CO2 since Climate Science™ has conclusively shown in peer-reviewed literature it is the CO2 rise which has caused the rise in the global average surface atmospheric temperature, and since it is settled science that warmer temperatures make chemicals more active it logically follows that more CO2 will kill off more of these rare endangered frogs.
Indeed, these frogs are already so rare that no one even knew they existed until WWF researchers identified the new species just a few months before the first funding proposal for this study went out. Thus it is blatantly obvious that since this already-endangered species absolutely must be saved in the interest of biodiversity, a worldwide global UN-enforced carbon regulating regime is absolutely necessary and must be instituted immediately. Oh, and restricting the use of those dangerous bleaching and coloring chemicals will likely also be done, as a related side matter, and done quietly so as to not draw attention from the Absolutely Most Important Issue of carbon emission reductions.
Thus the soon-to-be-mandated color of toilet paper will be… “natural.” Besides, everybody knows “Natural is best.”

Another Ian
December 15, 2010 3:20 am

Re Cynthia Lauren Thorpe says:
December 15, 2010 at 2:12 am
A different take on the pyramid structure –
Following an explanation of the pyramid structure in a management course (many Indians, one chief) there was the comment that
“Is that so? I thought it was like a vegetarian’s dunny – the turds float to the top.”
If the phrasing isn’t familiar try
I doubt that will be climate sanitised!

December 15, 2010 3:32 am

As much as I despise legal larvae, I would be very tempted to engage one under those circumstances.

December 15, 2010 3:34 am

The people who come out with these intrusive regulations are nothing more than little Hitlers. They are spiteful of freedom and democracy. The laws are not about environmentalism, in the true sense of the word, more often it is about the personal indulgence of intrusiveness on others lives. The weakest and shitiest people in society always tend to be concentrated in these human hating groupthink camps.

tim maguire
December 15, 2010 4:33 am

It would be nice to have a discussion about “sustainability.” Right now it’s just a nifty buzzword thrown around by people who want to look smart and caring. But what does it mean? If it means anything, it means that if we keep doing something the same way, eventually we’ll run out of a vital ingredient and won’t be able to do it anymore.
But so what? Since when do we keep doing something the same way indefinitely? Technology is all about doing things differently over time. Will we miss crude oil? Well, do we currently miss whale oil?
We change when we need to change. “Sustainability” is an effort to get us to change before we need to, before it becomes a crisis.
What’s so terrible about that?
Here’s what’s so terrible: it is in the nature of our technological society that any solution we come up with in 5 years will be better than any solution we come up with today. And any solution we come up with in 10 years will be better than any solution we come up with in 5 years. So the best first step to resolving a problem is to wait as long as reasonably possible to resolve it. By forcing us to come up with a solution today for a problem that won’t present itself for several (or many) years almost certainly forces us to adopt an inferior solution.
The upshot: the greenies would do their own cause a favor if they stopped pushing solutions for problems that don’t yet exist. (Of course, I’m assuming that their “cause” is what they say it is, and not a generalized fear and hatred of civilized society.)

December 15, 2010 4:39 am

As if home sales needed another push downward. Another example of self-righteous and obtuse government interference with commerce and property rights. The problem, as always, is that the people who are opposed to intrusive government rarely run for office because they don’t see themselves controlling the behavior of the rest of the community. So it’s left to the self-appointed commissars to take over government and abuse their power, as in this case.

December 15, 2010 4:39 am

Another take on natural color. I see many patients with different illnesses. Many tell me proudly they eat only the best organic and only take bulk “natural” medicines and pills every day. They are a little surprised they get normal illnesses like the rest of us, but they are totally bewildered when I tell them that “natural” is a registered brand name used on unlicensed drugs ,made by big drug companies. They are never sure if I am joking, but I never am. If they want to talk about it, rare, then I tell them about the nasty side effects of their “natural” pills. Back to the point, here in Aus, homes have to have a sustainability certificate, and it has to be advertised. Naturally everyone ignores it.

December 15, 2010 4:52 am

In the UK there used to be a thing called HIP, a home information pack that every seller had to pay for. It included this worthless waste of money:-
Talking of a piece of crap, I believe it is in Australia where the water saving device in the lavatory is a saying. “If it’s brown, flush it down. If it’s yellow, let it mellow.”
I’ll get my coat…

December 15, 2010 5:07 am

“UK Sceptic says:
December 15, 2010 at 1:44 am
They’ll be dictating what colour toilet paper you can use next…”
If only it were that benign…it is more likely that they will mandate special toilet paper dispensers ($599.99 at menards!) by every toilet that will sense the size of the person using the loo and only dispense 2 or 3 squares at a time, depending on the size of the person.

December 15, 2010 5:13 am

Suppose that the “improvements” the seller makes are not those that the buyer would do, as there are often multiple ways to deal with various features in a house?
I would bill the loss of sale value to the sustainability committee along with related incurred legal fees.
Then, there are also court challenges which would run up legal fees for the committee, which probably does not have a budget for this.
Wave any statements they have made regarding not affecting private citizens in their faces and the press. Make their lives miserable.

Frank K.
December 15, 2010 5:24 am

“The council voted 6-1 on Tuesday with Larry Wahl voting no to mandate up to $800 in energy efficiency improvements paid by sellers for any house built before 1991.”
There are several things about this that make it such an idiotic ordinance:
(1) Why $800? Why not $900? Wouldn’t that be better? How about $1000? $10000?
(2) So who decides if the “energy improvements” are good enough?
(3) What if someone installs some crappy “energy saving” device? The new homeowner will likely come in and rip it out and install what they want, thereby wasting $800. Unless, of course, they’re paid a visit by the sustainability police…
I’m sure that next the sustainability police will be regulating *any* change you try make to your house…then they will regulate what you drive, what you eat, what you are allowed to receive on the internet, what you think…

Chris D.
December 15, 2010 5:39 am

I believe there were similar mandates in the house-passed cap and trade package last year or so.

Pull My Finger
December 15, 2010 5:40 am

Actually I think they already have. Colored toilet paper has largely gone the way of the dodo in the US due to some silliness with the dies that are used. I may be wrong but I think all the TP at our grocery store is white.
They’ll be dictating what colour toilet paper you can use next…

December 15, 2010 5:43 am

I can only be thankful that civilisation has been so successful that so many can afford to waste so much on funny eco programmes. Of course, the image of the man sawing off the branch on which he is sitting some to mind…

Old England
December 15, 2010 5:47 am

Picking up on the theme of civil disobedience from AW and the responding posts I thought it worthwhile, for those in the US who don’t know what is happening in Europe to add a brief comment.
Peter Mandelson – ex EU Commissioner, power behind the scenes in the Labour party and now enobled to take a seat in the House of Lords – recently stated that we are now in the ‘Post-Democratic’ era. Living in the UK with 85% of our laws now made by unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats in Brussels it is easy to understand what he says.
We have the trappings of a ‘democracy’ but the political system has been evolved and changed so that our politicians can no longer be held accountable for 85% of our laws. We cannot hold anyone to account. Our politicians pursue a stealth agenda of creeping EU integration whether or not the public want it. It is how the EU has been structured and works.
Our ‘post-democratic’ era means just that – democracy is unable, as things are at present, to change what happens.
That is how the UN appears to be modelling it’s approach to global government under the guise of global warming. It seems to be following the EU model.
That takes me round in a circle back to civil disobedience. I have never supported violent protest or active civil disobedience. But I do believe that the real challenge or battle that mankind faces across much of the ‘democratic’ world in the 21st century is to restore and then retain democracy (and I don’t think that applies to the US).
At a now slightly advancing age, I have come to the conclusion that there are times when civil disobedience both passive and active may not merely be necessary but be a duty for those who believe in freedom and democracy.

December 15, 2010 5:50 am

Thanks Anthony,
I’ve been trying to attending the Sustainability Task Force meetings, including the ad hoc committees that have been formed out of the main ad hoc committee – a meeting every Monday for a month! It’s awful, the conversations are just outrageous, and the only other member of the public is usually Stephanie Taber. The ER usually sends a reporter, but her story sounds like it was written by staff off the agenda reports.
These meetings are attended by the university staff, the garbage haulers, and PG&E, all of whom stand to benefit off the work they are doing for themselves.
Civil disobedience, yes. We need to just plain shut these meetings down. The public needs to come in and mau mau the flakcatchers.
I know – in my dreams!
Well, the next meeting is Jan. 10 at 3pm. Mau mau!

December 15, 2010 5:52 am

The effective result of this will be to raise final sale prices by $800, an interesting mandate when house prices are falling. That will reduce sales and therefore transfer taxes and realtor income. It benefits contractors who specialize in this work, though. Hmmmm…

December 15, 2010 5:55 am

Global Governance for Sustainable Development
A speech by James Gustave Speth, Executive Director of the United Nations Development Program Delivered to the World Conference on Rio +5 Rio de Janeiro, March, 1997
From its inception in 1982, James Gustave Speth was the President of the World Resources Institute (WRI). In 1992, he resigned to serve on the Clinton/Gore transition team, then became the Executive Director of the United Nations Development Program.
Speth was also a co-founder of the Natural Resources Defense Council, where he served as senior attorney from 1970 to 1977.
In 1999 he became the dean of the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies at Yale University, where Pachauri is Head of The “Climate and Energy Institute”.
Speth currently serves on the boards of the Natural Resources Defense Council, World Resources Institute, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Population Action International, The Center for Humans and Nature, 1Sky, and Climate Central.
WRI and NRDC are both represented in the IPCC and both receive funding from foundations such as the Joyce Foundation, (who funded the Chicago Climate Exchange at the outset). NRDC got $450,000 this year. Soros and Pachauri are on the WRI board. Soros’ Open Society provides funding along with dozens of other foundations –
Follow the money, as usual

December 15, 2010 6:06 am

It is interesting to me that Universities are moving from semi-independent states to now imposing their rule on the communities that have sustained them.
It is as if a Duke decided to take over the King that made the Duke possible.
Universities have talked us all into way too many special rights and privileges, and have avoided paying taxes.
Perhaps it is time to rethink the special roles Universities have talked us into giving them?

December 15, 2010 6:23 am

Green-marxists blabber about “sustainability”, but then bankrupt our children’s future by ever-greater debt.
You can expect the exact opposite to what they “say”.

December 15, 2010 6:32 am

What if I overachieve and make $1,200 dollars in efficiency improvements, can I then sell the extra $400 in Chico efficiency credits to my neighbor when they sell their house? I suspect this would be OK as long as the credits are registered, audited, and approved by the soon to be formed Chico muncipal energy effeciency trading commission. For a small fee of course.

Henry chance
December 15, 2010 6:36 am

Who will be the first to require a meter on toilet paper?
People can’t make good decisions.
Every time there are cash expenses loaded on the seller, the foreclosure rate goes up. If they don’t have cash for a payment, they sure don’t have cash for upgrades.

December 15, 2010 6:39 am

E.M. Smith has it right. The law of unintended consequences will kick in. Whatever gets mandated will be done as cheaply as possible. If it’s cheap enough, it will get ripped out and thrown away by the buyer.
And the “paid by sellers” thing is a joke. I can see how future transactions will go:
Buyer: I’m willing to buy the house, but first, I demand that you make $500 of energy efficiency upgrades.
Seller: Sure.
Buyer: Any chance you’d be willing to come down in price.
Seller: No.
Buyer: What if I dropped my demand for the energy efficiency improvements.
Seller: Okay. I would be willing to come down $500.

December 15, 2010 6:39 am

Either the council has been given too much authority or they have overstepped their bounds. Why before 1991. From what I hear some new houses are not built as well as the older houses in an effort to cut costs. Maybe someone should check on the private business associations of the council. And will grant money flow from the federal government to cities enacting such rules.

December 15, 2010 6:45 am

why does anyone with marketable skills stay in California now? Come to Texas, where all the jobs and opportunities for the future are! (well, excepting Austin, of course)

December 15, 2010 6:47 am

Phase 2 will be the city pays for the improvements for homeowners who can’t afford it and an additional “fee” (tax) paid by sellers who can afford it to pay for the ones who can’t.
This can/will create a whole new bureaucracy. Who is going to enforce this? Obviously, the city must hire inspectors and somebody will have to pay a fee for the privilege.

December 15, 2010 6:49 am

Yet another regressive regulation from the “progressives”.
I used to love California. Half of my family still lives there. I swear there is something in the air (maybe its the invasive eucalyptus) that leads to the inability of California residents to think critically.
I don’t know how you’ve kept your wits about you, Anthony, but I wish you luck.

Ed Fix
December 15, 2010 6:56 am

UK Sceptic said on December 15, 2010 at 1:44 am
They’ll be dictating what colour toilet paper you can use next…

They already do! It’s brown (the recycled kind, you see).

December 15, 2010 7:04 am

Get used to it-this is only the beginning!
-after all, isn’t this what the voters wanted?

Ed Fix
December 15, 2010 7:08 am

Dave Wendt
H.L. Mencken was a misanthrope, and probably a miserable person to be around. That said, many of his ideas do contain a grain of truth.

December 15, 2010 7:09 am

E.M.Smith says:
December 15, 2010 at 1:25 am
LOL!:You must have CFL bulbs in the bathroom. They make you look like the Night Of The Living Dead
The trouble is that most of the Greenies are stoned so they don’t see what we see, they see a whole rainbow of colors. 🙂

December 15, 2010 7:15 am

Hi folks. To quote Jack Sparrow, “but you have heard of me.”
Anthony, if you just keep the smoke in your house, along with the fireplace, I think everything will be fine. The problem comes from all that particulate matter that hangs over Chico on still winter days. As someone with hearing problems, I am sure you can sympathize with people with breathing problems.
Wood stoves are not a major concern with us “eco-zealots” at the University. I am not sure why it is an issue for the Sustainability Task Force.
Is calling someone an eco-zealot name calling? Just asking, not blowing gaskets?
REPLY: I have a gas fireplace, no smoke. Though I’m sure somebody from the task force will take aim at that in the future. And this article is about the energy improvement mandate on home sales, not the upcoming attempt to oust wood stoves. Wearing blinders today?
Here’s how I see it. I don’t try to tell you or anyone else how to run CSUC, nor do I mind at all that LEED in king there. I applaud it. So work in your own realm, but don’t push your mandates that work for CSUC off on the citizens of this town. The whole of the sustainability committee is a university clique. Mayor Schwabinator, task force for example. – Anthony

December 15, 2010 7:16 am

The eco-fascists are alive and well at Chico State, where the totalitarian mindset is on full display. Hundreds of thousands of of our countrymen died fighting against the same dark forces of unbridled statism during the 1940s.

Martin Brumby
December 15, 2010 7:19 am

UK Sceptic said on December 15, 2010 at 1:44 am
“They’ll be dictating what colour toilet paper you can use next…”
Toilet paper? Toilet paper?
Surely there’s some moss you could use?
Or you could use pieces of cloth you can wash out and use again, you eco-wastrel!
But just make sure you recycle the water you use or pour it on your alfalfa sprouts. Because as you will understand, one thing the UK is desperately short of is water! That’s why, in Council renovation schemes, they specify toilets that are designed to flush with just one litre of water! No doubt that works well if you’ve been on the ale the night before……

December 15, 2010 7:24 am

Would that be the WTF researchers, not the WWF researchers?
Max 🙂

December 15, 2010 7:25 am

My bad. Was just reading about wood smoke on another blog and confused the issue.
I guess I am the worst pirate you ever heard of. : )

December 15, 2010 7:33 am

Yeah, every building contractor in California has the “Title 24 lights” – the $10 fluorescent fixtures that go in the bathrooms long enough to pass inspection.
The kitchen ‘primary lighting’ must be fluorescent, so you wire the top switch to the little undercabinet fluorescents, then swap them around once the inspection’s done.
There are actually 1.6GPF toilets that work well. We have a European Duravit that puts the tank in the wall, the tank is located higher than normal and works great. The pressure-tank kind flush well but tend to sound like someone just set off a bomb.
There’s no such thing as a good 2.5GPM showerhead, though. The regs say 2.5GPM per showerhead, but they don’t say how many showerheads. Designers and contractors started specifying showers with three, four, five showerheads and big batteries of body sprays and the regulators are in apoplexy about all that right now.
Our showers only have one showerhead, but they were chosen because the restrictors were either removable or drillable.

Craig Loehle
December 15, 2010 7:33 am

What if you already did all the energy efficiency things because you are such a boy scout? Rip out the insulation and redo it? It is like the No Child Left Alone program, where my child’s high schools has 99% literacy and reading at or above grade level etc and they are in trouble because they can’t show year-to-year improvement.
This should also be a big help to all the people losing their homes or trying to relocate due to lost jobs, now even harder to sell their home.

December 15, 2010 7:39 am

These people are always hypocritical, demanding that others do what they don’t. Very likely that a little digging will find something for which they can be held up to ridicule. Time to put on the investigative reporter hat.

dave ward
December 15, 2010 7:51 am

Several people have commented on the “Busybody” nature of local government – much of this could be down to a little know organisation called “Common Purpose”. They are mainly active in the UK where they have infiltrated every council and many major companies. They claim to run training courses to help develop the leaders of tomorrow, which is suspicious in itself, but they also proudly boast of teaching people to “lead beyond authority”. Sound familiar? They don’t have offices in the US yet, but are known to be working behind the scenes.

December 15, 2010 7:53 am

You need do what we are now doing, form a local tea party to get to the city council and stay there. By now you probably figured out that the local news is in cahoots with the city. And here you thought the news people were looking out for the folks? Hah you would be wrong.
We used to pay $40 a month for water. Now as a taxing bill, our water bill is $200 a month, for the same gallons usage.
And now we learn that the FPL power company is charging people to heat the oceans, because the manatees are needed to use to beat boaters over the head with. It’s their moral duty to heat the oceans.

December 15, 2010 7:54 am

Here, in the UK, I read (in the new Localism Bill) that HIPs are to be scrapped once and for all. Home Information Packs were introduced by Nu-Labour so that we could see how energy efficient houses were which were for sale, presumably to make sure that we were all terribly energy conscious and only buy energy efficient homes. They were a complete waste of time. No-one buys a house based on energy efficiency. It’s always location, location, location. If it’s in the right place, for you, you’ll buy the house and it’s up to you as the new owner to decide whether to improve insulation, reduced flow showers etc. (I love our shower which mixes in air with the water; husband hates it and uses another shower. He pays the energy bill, so if he wants to use more energy heating the water that must be his prerogative).
What is it about all these bureaucrats that they have to try to tell us what to do? That’s what I love about the human condition – as soon as someone tries to dictate to us, we get all stroppy and start fighting back.
The best stroppiness I know comes from husband. The words that light his blue touchpaper are, “You’ll have to….” from some bureaucrat and then he launches into I-don’t-have-to-do-anything mode and gives the poor so-and-so on the other end of the phone a real earful and as he can sound off for England it can be a good half an hour before he ends his rant. (I’m not sure if he ever notices that the phone has been put down on him.)

December 15, 2010 7:55 am

This is not an issue for democracy as some are suggesting in the hopes of voting these folks out, as pure democracy is simply mob rule and can disregard the rule of law. There is a constitutional right to private property that is being subverted here and that right trumps democratic vote. You could have a 99% vote to keep these people and their policies in place, yet their decrees would still be unconstitutional.

Bruce Cobb
December 15, 2010 7:58 am

They must have been inspired by the
Green Police Audi commercial. Have they ordered their fleet of Segways yet?

December 15, 2010 8:00 am

Okay. I will try this again, after coffee.
The ordinance Anthony cites is actually existing law, updated.
The date was chosen because 1991 was the year that residential energy efficiency standards in CA were significantly revised. The dollar amount was determined by applying the construction cost escalator to the old $500 limit.
The City of Chico has a goal of reducing greenhouse gas production by 25% by 2020. The portion of ghg reduction associated with homes (25%) cannot be placed on new construction alone. Enforcement of existing energy retrofit ordinances is one way to decrease greenhouse gas production associated with older homes.
I will try my best to answer questions.

DJ Meredith
December 15, 2010 8:03 am

Ok, so which council member owns the hardware store where the improvements have to be bought?
…and where’s the “Weasel Clause” that will exempt council members when they want to sell their houses?

December 15, 2010 8:17 am

Old England says:
December 15, 2010 at 5:47 am

Picking up on the theme of civil disobedience ……………………………………….

You may recognize this:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. [b]But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.[/b]
There are many ways to cast a ballot.

December 15, 2010 8:25 am

The minds of our students have been forced into developing mal-wired. California leads the way, with 80 years of socialist run education designed to mold the minds of the children so that they will be perfect citizens of the coming socialist utopia.. The result is that the average Californian is cognitively dysfunctional.
When I got to Santa Rosa in the late 90s, I was very confused by what I saw. The people that I met, literally would remember what happened last year by what the news and their friends said happened, totally ignoring their very own experiences. Everything that they saw was twisted about to conform to their preconceptions. It was scary, but when I finally (after eight years studying the situation) figured out what was happening, I became very scared. The same thing is happening all across the US. People are being turned into irrational animals, their capacity for logic deliberately short-circuited.
The purpose of elementary school is to create democrats. The purpose of high school is to create socialists. The purpose of collage is to produce marxists.
These greenies really and truly want the elimination of mankind. They hate humanity. They will use violence to get their way. It is time for thinking people to leave that state for their own safety.

December 15, 2010 8:27 am

Old England says:
December 15, 2010 at 5:47 am
At a now slightly advancing age, I have come to the conclusion that there are times when civil disobedience both passive and active may not merely be necessary but be a duty for those who believe in freedom and democracy.”

Take a lesson from the Colonies. We engaged in a little civil disobedience back in the late 1700’s. ;o)
It seems to be necessary from time to time. If the madates such as Anthony posted about keep piling up, it might be time for another round of civil disobedience here in the U.S.
Oh… notice that no one particular mandate ever seems to be onerous enough to get up in arms about. The one above is “only $800.” But eventually it the last little added mandate the tips the applecart. It seems to me that people in many countries are starting to reach their tipping points over all the government mandates that have been coming down the pike.

December 15, 2010 8:27 am

Now the question is how do we, here in Calgary, make sure this kind of antidemocratic nonsense is confined to California?

December 15, 2010 8:28 am

I’ve talked to a lot of civil/commercial engineers who have worked major projects in Los Angeles. They tell me they have no respect for their profession whatsoever, especially the bull*&@ that comes from any local building codes. One of them, who has worked large high-rise projects and single home add-ons, had to this to say about building codes for residential.
“Houses do not collapse, they do not. There is absolutely no chance of the average well-built single-story home fully collapsing on the occupants inside. It doesn’t happen because there’s just too little weight on top for the strength of the wood holding it up. Sure, hurricanes will rip your roof off, tornadoes will put your home in a blender, and earthquakes will shake everything off the walls/ceiling, but even commercial structures designed to withstand these things will fail in those cases. Bottom line, there is no justification for laws forcing you to demonstrate to an inspector such absurd things as a properly dug out ginormous hole for a concrete footing with rebar in the appropriate fashion just for a new deck in your backyard.”
In other words, home building regulation is a racket. This is not to say there isn’t a good use for home inspectors to ensure quality, but what should really be happening is home inspectors should be investigating the bad contractors like a detective agency, not forcing law abiding people to follow a ridiculous amount of law.

John F. Hultquist
December 15, 2010 8:34 am

Dan says: at 4:39 am
. . .the people who are opposed to intrusive government rarely run for office because they don’t see themselves controlling the behavior of the rest of the community.
There are several people with whom I must interact on a regular basis and we seem to be genetically infused with opposite feelings along such lines as this. Otherwise, they seem to be quite normal.
————–About the not so flushable toilets
I’ve placed a can (large type tomato) of water on the counter and dump that in the throat of the underperforming but sustainability product just as I hit the lever. This greatly improves “the float” which is the main concept – “s*** floats” – behind the gently sloping pipe and its water-carrier.

John F. Hultquist
December 15, 2010 8:46 am

I think Curiousgeorge at 8:17 am meant to use these rather than these [ ], thereby getting bold text rather than [b] this[/b].

John F. Hultquist
December 15, 2010 8:48 am

So, I don’t know how to get those other characters to show up. Shoot me!

December 15, 2010 8:50 am

I echo their sentiments in saying: stay out of my house!

Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated by the progressive borg.
This is typical of the mindset of these people. Another example was in the past couple of days when Michelle Obama (who has been elected to no public office) made the announcement that what children eat just can’t be left up to parents anymore. These people actually believe they have the right (probably believe they have the *duty* in their minds) to tell other people how to live their lives.
California is somewhat of a lost cause at this point but in the record number of other states where these people have been tossed out of office on their ears, the incoming administrations need to clean house. A very deep steam cleaning of political appointees in all agencies is in order with a sweeping of these bureaucratic busy-bodies from their ivory towers.
California is lost. I am moving out of the state as soon as it is practical to do so.

December 15, 2010 8:53 am

Below is a link to many of the solar energy aspects of home heating. This is from Arizona Solar Center; Arizona has just about the best solar potential of any US state.
Their claim is that passive solar heating is cost-effective when incorporated in a home’s design. That may be true. What is definitely NOT true is that retro-fits to install many of the passive solar heating systems are cost-effective.

kadaka (KD Knoebel)
December 15, 2010 8:55 am

From tim maguire on December 15, 2010 at 4:33 am:

It would be nice to have a discussion about “sustainability.” Right now it’s just a nifty buzzword thrown around by people who want to look smart and caring. (…)

As it says on the bottom of the pages at the American Geophysical Union’s web site:

AGU galvanizes a community of Earth and space scientists that collaboratively advances and communicates science and its power to ensure a sustainable future.

I am glad the AGU exists to motivate scientists to advance science’s existing power to keep the Sun shining, prevent impacts by celestial objects above a certain size, as well as prevent super-massive volcanic eruptions, which is all that is needed to ensure life on this planet will enjoy a sustainable future for many hundreds of millenia to come.*
* Certain transitory lifeforms may feel more is required, but that doesn’t matter since any particular individual species is just “passing through” as far as evolution is concerned.

December 15, 2010 8:58 am

@DJ Meredith –
Your comment assumes that one or more of the council members who voted for this are engaged in private commercial enterprise. Sadly, ’tis not the case.

Bruce Cobb
December 15, 2010 9:11 am

Mark says:
December 15, 2010 at 8:00 am
The City of Chico has a goal of reducing greenhouse gas production by 25% by 2020. The portion of ghg reduction associated with homes (25%) cannot be placed on new construction alone.
That would be the ec0-zealotry kicking in. It’s the idea of forcing people to pay for your Belief system which people find objectionable.

December 15, 2010 9:23 am

“Here’s how I see it. I don’t try to tell you or anyone else how to run CSUC, nor do I mind at all that LEED in king there. I applaud it. So work in your own realm, but don’t push your mandates that work for CSUC off on the citizens of this town. The whole of the sustainability committee is a university clique. Mayor Schwabinator, task force for example. – Anthony”
But Anthony, I am a citizen of this town too. On what basis do you make the distinction between us?
I own a home in Chico. My kids go to Chico schools. I shop locally.
Why must I contain my involvement to my place of employment?
Do you?
REPLY: Apparently you missed the part of the article that points out the lie:
The mandate is the work of the city’s sustainability task force, which falsely promised no government regulations aimed at private individuals.

As citizen, you can advocate whatever you want, but when a committee that you influence heavily lies to the populace, then calling them on it is fair game.
Having been a founding member of that committee, I back what the ER said about the false promise. The 2008 report issued from the sustainability committee is chock full of such broken promises.
Let’s look at some of the suggested “community reduction” actions in this report presented by Schwab and her task force:
* A suggestion to pay city employees to give up their parking spot.
* Require energy audits on residential units at the time of sale.
* Increased fees on waste disposal.
* A local gasoline tax to generate local revenue.
* Forcing a lights out policy on local businesses after hours
* Free electricity and free parking for city employees that drive electric vehicles
* Free or reduced cost electricity and parking for citizens that drive electric vehicles
You can find these items in Appendix C of the report, near the end under “Community Reduction Measures” which are designed to meet a carbon emissions target.
You once raised hell with me over these items, saying they were simply “suggestions” taken from ICLEI. Well now one of those suggestions has come to pass, how many more? How long till we have a gasoline tax because Schwab and her band of spendthrifts can’t control their spending habits, are in the financial hole, and need even more money? If it happens, I’ll buy my gas in Hamilton City or Oroville just to spite them, and I’ll bet others will also if it comes to pass.
This tax and spend feel good atmosphere of Chico (and California) isn’t sustainable without bilking the citizens for more money to support green dreams.
So Mark, the central question is this: Why must lies be told? Why do you think your lifestyle choice must be foisted on everyone else?
The answer is the same for greens everywhere, they think they are superior and more moral than everyone else because they are “saving the planet”.
– Anthony

December 15, 2010 9:23 am

Roger Sowell
December 15, 2010 at 8:53 am
I lived in a house designed to take advantage of the sun for about a year while living in Sonoma County Cal. Nowhere close to the amount of sun Az gets (I’m from ~Phoenix), but still it worked pretty damn well. Two little oil-filled space heaters rarely ever had to be used, and then just on the lowest setting. The only way to retrofit a house to behave like this one would be to completely tear it down and start over.

December 15, 2010 9:23 am

John F. Hultquist says:
December 15, 2010 at 8:48 am
You’re right, but for some reason it didn’t bold. Probably my mistake. I use a Firefox addon called BBcode, which takes some of the strain off my memory, but I sometimes use the wrong format. It will provide formatting in html, bbcode, xhtml and various user settings also. For this forum I should have used html code instead of [ ]

Gary Hladik
December 15, 2010 9:38 am

Mark says (December 15, 2010 at 8:00 am): “The City of Chico has a goal of reducing greenhouse gas production by 25% by 2020.”

Craig Moore
December 15, 2010 9:38 am

Well, at there is some good news on the eminent domain front by those using “green energy” to make a quick buck: http://www.greatfallstribune.com/article/20101214/NEWS01/12140302/Judge-denies-MATL-use-of-eminent-domain
Are the Chico “energy efficiency” contractors invested in the council?

December 15, 2010 9:47 am

Here in the UK, I forget the exact proportion but I think its about 75% of our housing stock, was built before 1970. So now our eco-loony Department of Energy and Climate Change (yep – that’s what its called) wants us all to take out LOANS to retro-insulate all our homes – many of which (those pre-1930) have solid walls, so achingly difficult to do anything with, unless you want the massive upheaval of internal insulation, and to make your ten foot wide rooms nine feet four…
But – my main point is – who the hell, in the current economic climate, wants to put themselves in MORE debt..?? What mindset in government is saying: ‘Well – the country owes billions, so why shouldn’t you lot be up to your necks in debt as well..?’
Re ‘low energy’ lamps – HELLO governments out there – these stoopid mercury-filled jobbies which the energy companies are giving away and supermarkets are selling for 10p/15c – are SOOOO year-before-last – haven’t you heard of LEDs..?? A quarter of the energy consumption of so-called low-energy lamps, no mercury, and last for ever..?

December 15, 2010 9:47 am

@Dave Ward:
Yes, Common Purpose is known outside “Europa” and the UK. Its equivalent in North America is, as I began the comments above, Local Agenda 21, whose guiding philosophy (apart from misanthropy) is Communitarianism. In a nutshell, Communitarianism is about “balancing” the rights of the individual with the rights of society, i.e. taking away individual rights in the name of the common good. The Grand Poobah of the Communitarian agenda is a little known but very influential, and seemingly protected, individual named Werner Falk, better known by the name he gave himself: Amitai Etzioni. The name sounds sort of Italian, but it actually means Tree of Knowledge from Zion. Remember the Tree of Life in the ecoprop film Avatar? Yep, it’s a Kabbalistic concept, and if anything the guiding philosophy can be considered quite legalistic, which is where it fits so seamlessly with building codes and mandates on resource usage.
It seems that in addition to the Sierra Club and other usual suspects, the Rockefeller Brothers Foundation is never far from this agenda for destruction of traditional faiths in favor of earth worship and control over all resources by the self-appointed clergy class of the new Gaia religion.

December 15, 2010 9:55 am

Mark says:
December 15, 2010 at 9:23 am
“Why must I contain my involvement to my place of employment?”
Interesting that you consider this type of activity to be merely community involvement. You couldn’t just volunteer at a homeless shelter or coach a local soccer team? Anything that didn’t involve intruding on the lives of your neighbors, and then expecting them to thank you for it?

December 15, 2010 9:59 am

“Mark says (December 15, 2010 at 8:00 am): “The City of Chico has a goal of reducing greenhouse gas production by 25% by 2020.” Gary Hladik asks, Why?”
The simple answer is that reducing greenhouse gasses is state law, recently confirmed by the voters of California.

Al Tekhasski
December 15, 2010 10:00 am

“Effective June 1, 2009, homes older than 10 years old and receiving energy from the city of Austin utilities located within the city limits of Austin must have an energy audit prior to the sell of that home. This complies with the energy conservation audit and disclosure (ECAD) ordinance. Some exemptions may apply. For more information please visit Austin Energy’s website.”
Mandatory ECAD Audit $225 Premuim Audit $450
These prices do not include $50 fee for each mandated “Gas Appliance Performance, Energy, & Safety Test”.
Of course, as usual in bureaucracy, the ordinance breeds a whole layer of parasites and institutions:
“The City of Austin has finalized their list of equipment and tests that are required for the Energy Audit. Texas Green Energy Audit is offering Green Energy Audit Certification through the BPI program. The BPI program focuses on the house-as-a-system concept, including mechanical equipment and the building envelope. Students who successfully complete the course, the online final exam, and the field test know how to identify problems, their root causes, and the appropriate repair. The purpose of Texas Green Energy Audits is to provide the latest in green education, training, and testing to qualified individuals who want to obtain the Building Performance Institute (BPI) certification and become a Building Analyst Professional able to perform energy audits in Austin.”
If seller does not comply with ECAD ordinance, he/she becomes a criminal:
“(A) A person commits a criminal offense if the person performs an act prohibited
by this chapter or fails to perform an act required by this chapter. Each
instance of a violation of this chapter is a separate offense.
(B) Each offense under this chapter is subject to a fine.
1I) Proof of culpable mental state is not required for a fine of up to $500.
(2) If the person acts with criminal negligence, a fine of up to $2,000.00 may
be assessed.
(C) Proof of a higher degree of culpability than criminal negligence constitutes
proof of criminal negligence.
(D) Prosecution of an offense and enforcement of other remedies under this
chapter are cumulative.”
Enjoy your freedom while supply lasts.
– Al Tekhasski

Frank K.
December 15, 2010 10:21 am

“And this article is about the energy improvement mandate on home sales, not the upcoming attempt to oust wood stoves.”
They’re attempting to get rid of wood stoves and fireplaces too??!! Yikes! And to think I own a pellet stove…
To Professor Mark Stemen – I think that the town of Chico could easily achieve their long term carbon emission reduction goals by simply closing Chico State University, thereby removing all of the dirty, polluting campus buildings (and the people too).

December 15, 2010 10:21 am

When I sell my home, I’m going to be selling the *property* for my asking price, and tossing in the house, “as is”, for free. You want a new, green furnace and full radon exclusion? That’s between you and your wallet.
I’ll go so far as to recommend that the new owner raze the current structure; starting fresh: with a new, federally-approved, eco-friendly, zero-emissions, sustainable, energy-star-rated, CFC-free, fully accessible, minimal carbon footprint home.
It’s the right thing to do.

December 15, 2010 10:23 am

Of course, in razing the current structure, the new owner will have to comply with hundreds of environmental regulations and safety standards.

Craig Moore
December 15, 2010 10:31 am

= “Sustainability” continues to run amok in my town=
Sustainability has also taken a hit with this sobering assessment of wind energy: http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/opinions/article_16fa0d00-04b0-11e0-a393-001cc4c03286.html

December 15, 2010 10:36 am

Quacks and thieves.

December 15, 2010 10:47 am

Symon says: “…I believe it is in Australia where the water saving device in the lavatory is a saying. “If it’s brown, flush it down….”
We had that same slogan in California. Unfortunately, people have forgotten, and he got re-elected Governor recently.

December 15, 2010 10:53 am

Q1: How will you measure that GHGs have been reduced by 25%?
Q2: How will you measure the impact of whatever level of GHGs is actually accomplished?
Q3: I’ll make the assumption that the reduction will have negligible effect on any measurable quantity given the size of Chico and its GHG emissions relative to, say China. So the question is what gives the City, and you, the right to impose a financial burden on home owners/sellers to make improvements that will have no measurable impact on anything? Why not just legislate that every home owner burn $800 when they sell?

December 15, 2010 10:53 am

Mark says:
December 15, 2010 at 8:00 am
“The portion of ghg reduction associated with homes (25%) cannot be placed on new construction alone.”
An $800 requirement on older homes isn’t going to get anywhere near 25% either.
Renovation costs are easily 3X new construction costs.

December 15, 2010 10:56 am

Answer: requiring that money be spent to reduce something we cannot measure in order to have no measurable impact on any measurable quantity = either a) fascism, or b) insanity.
Q4: Which is it?

December 15, 2010 10:58 am

Mark says:
December 15, 2010 at 8:00 am
. . . The City of Chico has a goal of reducing greenhouse gas production by 25% by 2020. The portion of ghg reduction associated with homes (25%) cannot be placed on new construction alone. Enforcement of existing energy retrofit ordinances is one way to decrease greenhouse gas production associated with older homes.
I will try my best to answer questions.

OK, here’s one:
Exactly what evidence do you have that decreasing ‘greenhouse gas production’ would be of any benefit whatsoever to Chico, to California, to the United States, or to the world? Please be specific: which gases? what benefits? For extra credit, include a cost/benefit analysis of the measures specified.
/Mr Lynn

David J
December 15, 2010 11:04 am

I just replaced my dishwasher with one of the new energy efficient models. Now in order to make it clean as well the old one, I had to increase my hot water temperature by 15 degrees (F), and let the water run at the kitchen tap for 2 minutes before starting the dishwasher. Somehow, I don’t think I am saving water or energy.
Just another example of how government mandated regulations end up doing the opposite of what was intended.

December 15, 2010 11:11 am

Mark says:
“The simple answer is that reducing greenhouse gasses (sic) is state law, recently confirmed by the voters of California.”
So why did the Chico city council think they needed to pass yet another redundant law?
Your “simple answer” is typical of the eco-nuts running the state and local governments. And the tens of $millions poured into defeating Prop 23, in conjunction with the population so incompetently ‘educated’ by the corrupt government propaganda system, was obviously sufficient to bring about the Idiocracy of the result.
BTW, how did you vote? Like you were told by the movie stars/climate experts? And were you edumacated somewhere in the Peoples’ Socialist Soviet of Mexifornia? Chico, perhaps?

Steve (Paris)
December 15, 2010 11:27 am

Mark says:
December 15, 2010 at 9:59 am
“The simple answer is that reducing greenhouse gasses is state law, recently confirmed by the voters of California.”
In much of Europe through the 1930s and 40s the law said you had to denounce your neighbour if he/she was Jewish, gay, Communist, etc, etc. Would you obey that law too?

Tim Clark
December 15, 2010 11:29 am

Mark says: December 15, 2010 at 8:00 am Mark says: December 15, 2010 at 9:23
But Anthony, I am a citizen of this town too. On what basis do you make the distinction between us?

He isn’t mandating you update your house on the unproven hypothesis of manmade warming.
Understanding that methane has 16X the “greenhouse effect” of CO2, have you considered mandating the sale of methane absorbing diapers exclusively? Where does the silliness end?

December 15, 2010 11:51 am

A cynic might say that eco-toilets that do not flush well might serve a useful purpose. They might make the earth closet look OK in comparison. There is an interesting article on earth closets at the link below.
“Born in 1801 and a hero, in a small way, of the 21st century green eco-movement, the Rev. Henry Moule patented an earth closet toilet system in 1860. His motives were to save his poor Victorian parishioners from cholera by devising a sanitary but simple set-up, suitable for homes where indoor piped water was an impossible dream. Today his design, now re-named a composting toilet, could save us from water shortages and expensive plumbing, while enriching our vegetable gardens. The big drawback is that someone has to haul earth around: first filling up the hopper which releases a dollop of earth or ash at the right time, and then emptying the bucket into a potato trench. ”
Moule’s motives were admirable. I don’t know if earth closets are used anywhere today but I would have thought they might possibly be useful in rural areas in some third world countries. Fortunately I doubt if any politicians in the West would try and make them compulsory on ecological grounds!

Tom in freakin cold Florida
December 15, 2010 12:01 pm

KD says:{December 15, 2010 at 10:53 am}
“Q1: How will you measure that GHGs have been reduced by 25%?”
If 25% of the population leaves town due to silly regulations like this that would be a start.

December 15, 2010 12:04 pm

Well, as promised, here is my attempt to answer the questions posed, by name.
#1) The City (and State) use the ICLEI software that calculates greenhouse gas production based on readily available data like energy use, vehicle miles traveled, economic activity, etc. The reports are produced ever five years. The City commissioned one in 2005, so another is due
#2) The city does not measure this
#3) I agree that the city reduction alone will have a negligible impact. I do not have any right to tell homeowners what to do in their homes, or anywhere else for that matter. Cities, however, have a long-standing precedence of regulating individual behavior for the collective well-being.
Increasing energy-efficiency in building does have a measurable impact on energy use. I can appreciate that many/most on this blog do not believe that energy use has a measurable impact on the climate. Respectfully, the State of California disagrees.
#4) Straw man
Mr Lynn,
This entire blog seems to be devoted to asking and answering your question. Other commentators are much better at explaining the two sides than myself.
The City of Chico did not pass another law. It updated the cost figures for an existing law.
I voted No on 23, and I was educated in Iowa and Wisconsin.
Another poster asked why the City of Chico acted. I said to follow the law. I would hope CA cities would follow CA state law.
No, and never, it appears from the various replies. : )

December 15, 2010 12:07 pm

Roy says:
December 15, 2010 at 11:51 am
A cynic might say that eco-toilets that do not flush well might serve a useful purpose. They might make the earth closet look OK in comparison. There is an interesting article on earth closets at the link below.

Let’s all just do what the bear do. Do doodoo in the woods.

Tom Barney
December 15, 2010 12:11 pm

Why not shut down the university to save energy. There are plenty of other universities around to pick up the students without a commensurate increase in energy use.

Dave Wendt
December 15, 2010 12:25 pm

K~Bob says:
December 15, 2010 at 10:23 am
Of course, in razing the current structure, the new owner will have to comply with hundreds of environmental regulations and safety standards.
One of the provisions slipped into one of those multi thousand page pieces of legislation passed at midnight on a Saturday night, that absolutely had to be voted on before anyone had any opportunity to read them, was a requirement that any HIPs performed on structures that were built before lead based paints were banned, had to be performed by contractors whose employees are certified in HazMat. If you’ve been doing any DIY around an older home in recent months you are a definite scofflaw. Of course, if you are still upright and taking nourishment in the USA at this point it is almost impossible not to be a scofflaw. Depending on where you live and what you do, if you wanted to order a hard copy of every law, regulation, rule and requirement that you subject too from the bureaucracies at all levels of governance, we are rapidly approaching the point where one semi won’t be sufficient to make the delivery. And since the rules are often contradictory between the various bureaus and sometimes even internally within them, the only thing that keeps any of us from legal and financial jeopardy is that they don’t yet have the necessary manpower to completely monitor every activity of every citizen. Unfortunately, if you do come to the negative attention of any part of the structure, they won’t have to search too hard to find a way to make your life quite uncomfortable.

December 15, 2010 12:29 pm

Mark, I think, in this venue, going down the route of saying ‘It’s the law’ is simply the refuge of a man with no argument and certainly no proof of the justification for the law he cites. Until the 1950s a person could, technically, be prosecuted for witchcraft in Britain. It was the law – that did not make it either rational, reasonable or acceptable (facts, ironically, that the law itself had acknowledged in the 18th century; the amended act remained in place to punish frauds who claimed magical powers and gulled the unwary). Other posters have also drawn your attention to race laws in fascist Germany (I know, I know, Godwin’s Law). When you were asked ‘Why’ you hid behind a law that to rational people here is based on entirely unproven science and only sustained by political manipulation and misinformation. Please answer the question. And, that said, I admire you for putting your head into the scientific lion’s jaws.

December 15, 2010 12:40 pm

Mark says:
December 15, 2010 at 8:00 am
Okay. I will try this again, after coffee.
The ordinance Anthony cites is actually existing law, updated.
The date was chosen because 1991 was the year that residential energy efficiency standards in CA were significantly revised. The dollar amount was determined by applying the construction cost escalator to the old $500 limit.
The City of Chico has a goal of reducing greenhouse gas production by 25% by 2020. The portion of ghg reduction associated with homes (25%) cannot be placed on new construction alone. Enforcement of existing energy retrofit ordinances is one way to decrease greenhouse gas production associated with older homes.
I will try my best to answer questions.

Question 1: What gives the city the right to do this?
Question 1a: How about private property rights?
Question 2: What about people who can’t afford it? Sometimes homes are sold “as is” because the seller has no money for improvements. These homes usually sell for less and it’s the buyer’s responsibility to fix it up.
Question 3: Who enforces this and who pays for the enforcement? Who does the inspections?
Question 4: Will this make homes more affordable or less affordable, or have no impact? Explain.

December 15, 2010 12:46 pm

Richie P,
I would be foolish of me to debate climate science with the people on this blog because, well, you would make me look foolish.
I only comment when Anthony makes fun of our town. Today was different. He straight called me out. So, I am willing to answer questions about the City’s efforts, but I am not here to debate the science. I will leave that to my colleague Jeff Price, if he wants.
REPLY: Actually I only make fun of the sustainability committee, its connection to CSUC and you, plus the folly of our local politicians buying into it. But given how you see things, I can see how you’d think that is the whole town.
You do well enough at making yourself look foolish, like confusing smoke issues with the home energy audit above, you certainly don’t need help from us. – Anthony

December 15, 2010 12:50 pm

“The council voted 6-1 on Tuesday — with Larry Wahl voting no — to mandate up to $800 in energy efficiency improvements paid by sellers for any house built before 1991.”
To Larry Wahl’s good health! Wasn’t he also one of those who debated the skeptic position at a CSU event? He would make a fine governor, I’d say.

December 15, 2010 12:54 pm

this is nothing but a stimulation package…making people spend money

December 15, 2010 1:02 pm

kadaka (KD Knoebel) says:
December 15, 2010 at 3:12 am
UK Sceptic said on December 15, 2010 at 1:44 am
They’ll be dictating what colour toilet paper you can use next…
Thus the soon-to-be-mandated color of toilet paper will be… “natural.” Besides, everybody knows “Natural is best.”

Not to mention the bimbo with the guitar who will serenade you as you squat with a song about how many squares to use…

December 15, 2010 1:52 pm

Unfortunately, Professor Mark Stemen is somewhat correct in his assertion that “it is state law.”
“Implementation Strategies
State and Local Governments Programs
Implementing these strategies will require leadership and strong policies from state and local
government. State government plays a role in setting statewide targets, leading by example, and
ensuring that model voluntary codes that surpass minimum state requirements are available for
adoption as requirements by local governments within their jurisdictions. Local jurisdictions
have distinct authority to pass ordinances and green building standards that are more stringent
than the GBSC and energy requirements that exceed those of Title 24.
If these local standards
are based on state models already written in code language, builders will not face a mix of
different requirements. Some local governments are already setting green building targets very
similar to those recommended in this Scoping Plan, demonstrating their desire to be ahead of the
curve in responding to the dual challenges of increasing energy prices and climate change. “
[bold emphasis added] — from page C-147 of the 2008 AB 32 Climate Change Scoping Plan Appendices, available here:
The “GBSC” referred to is the Green Building Standards Commission (which appears to be a mistake or typo; from the context it appears the correct reference is CGBSC, or California Green Building Standards Code).
“Title 24” refers to Title 24, Part 6, California Code of Regulations, commonly known as Residential Energy Efficiency Standards. This went into effect January 1, 2010
see: http://www.energy.ca.gov/title24/
Further, ARB has a page on its website specifically for Local Government Actions for Climate Change activities:
Meanwhile, CO2 increases and the Earth cools. Hurricanes diminish in number and intensity. Sea levels don’t rise. Ice caps grow. The evidence against CO2 as the cause of catastrophic global warming is overwhelming.

Ed Fix
December 15, 2010 2:03 pm

Mark says:
“The simple answer is that reducing greenhouse gasses is state law, recently confirmed by the voters of California.”
And that’s why California is going bankrupt.

Rob Crawford
December 15, 2010 2:04 pm

“Cities, however, have a long-standing precedence of regulating individual behavior for the collective well-being.”
In order to reduce the spread of venereal diseases, out-of-wedlock sexual intercourse is now illegal in Chico, CA. Further, to reduce the possibility that a criminal who is none-the-less married will infect his or her partner, sexual intercourse within marriage is now restricted to once a month.
By their own standards, this is perfectly acceptable, no?
“I would hope CA cities would follow CA state law.”
Numerous CA cities have declared that they will defy federal law in regards to immigration. Perhaps a CA city can declare itself an “economic activity sanctuary” and refuse to enforce the myriad idiotic regulations that are strangling businesses?

December 15, 2010 2:14 pm

1) It was an existing building ordinance.
1a) The ordinance only applies when the property is sold. No rights are lost.
2) There are exemptions for short sales. Again, this is existing law.
3) The enforcement is voluntary and is part of the escrow paper process
4) The items of improvement were selected because they were also proven to be cost effective. Low flow toilets and programmable thermostats were made optional for the reasons posted by others

December 15, 2010 2:15 pm

I don’t live anywhere near Chico, thank goodness, although having Anthony for a neighbor would be great. But I note that this concept was included in the hopefully defunct cap and trade bill that is languishing in Washington. So that makes my questions both personal and pertinent for those who don’t live in Chico.
How many times must one house go through this process? Is an energy audit done to be sure the house needs an upgrade? What are the standards for efficiency and how are they applied? Must every house meet the same standards? Is it even possible for every house to meet the same standards? Who gets to decide? Do the bank-owned houses have to meet this, too? How about the houses that are being foreclosed on (that is a legal sale just like any other, albeit with an unwilling insolvent seller)?

December 15, 2010 2:32 pm

My null hypothesis about those who seek political power at any level is that they are criminal psychopaths. Now and again, here and there, I find evidence that this isn’t so.

December 15, 2010 2:36 pm

Mark says
#3) I agree that the city reduction alone will have a negligible impact. I do not have any right to tell homeowners what to do in their homes, or anywhere else for that matter. Cities, however, have a long-standing precedence of regulating individual behavior for the collective well-being.
1.A couple of conflicting things there, if it’s negligible why bother upgrading a law/bill that can not be make any difference?
2. How will the negligible impact benefit the collective well being of the citizens
3. should you not have offered the citizens of the city a vote on this law /bill seeing that its there collective well being and there individual behavoir that is being called in to question,and them being forced to pay for the action, for the negligible impact.

December 15, 2010 3:00 pm

To those who aren’t aware, California’s global warming prevention law (AB 32) was approved in 2006 and is still valid after proposition 23 failed at the ballot box last month. Chico is updating its general plan, which triggers the need for an environmental impact report. The report MUST address greenhouse gas emissions according to standards set forth in the California Environmental Quality Act and associated guidelines as adopted by the state. Jurisdictions who tried to ignore GHG emissions when doing environmental reports for updating general plans were sued by former attorney general (now governor-elect) Jerry Brown, and he prevailed in this suits. Any city or county in california MUST address GHG reductions in environmental documents. Cries of “prove it will make a difference” are moot – it’s already law in California.
That said, California has been pushing energy efficiency for so long that per capita energy use is already among the lowest in the nation. California building codes mandate energy-efficient construction, and California’s energy mix is also almongst the least carbon intensive in the nation. We’re at the “reducing returns” portion of the cost/benefit curve. If Chico is really concerned about GHG emissions and their effect on global climate, I would respectfully suggest that the money that would otherwise be used for energy efficiency upgrades in Chico should instead be shipped off to jurisdictions in the midwest and the south for energy efficiency upgrades in areas where the grid is almost entirely powered by coal. It doesn’t make much sense, but it’s the logical outcome of trying to be cost-effective with one’s GHG emissions reduction dollars. Of course, reducing GHG emissions in Indiana or West Virginia won’t help Chico comply with AB 32 (not to mention the fact that other states aren’t subject to AB 32), so this proposal is more of a thought exercise. However, it does show some of the logical fallacies of trying to address a global problem at the local level.

December 15, 2010 3:11 pm

Thank God i live in an almost third world country 🙂
This is simply Tyranny. Now it is of the Post-Civilization and Democratic kind.
Minorities can’t resist this Statist Power grab, tyrannical by its overreach.
But the issue that confounds me is why there are people that need for some strange reason to enforce what others should do to their lives and have pleasure in it?

December 15, 2010 3:19 pm

One answer to that maybe because they can’t do anything else in their lives.
To have this bureaucratic job and maintain it they have to find ever more outrageous things to force other citizens to do because the plain common sense things are already done.
Big part of local Government would be obsolete – and many gov/local puritans unemployed -without this petty interferences in peoples lives.
Only interfering they find a meaning for their lives.
Yes they are of puritan kind.

December 15, 2010 3:23 pm

What about the Northern Ca and Southern Ca idea that gets discussed every once in awhile? Would that help Californians from being ruled by two super-populated counties?
In my state elections are decided by one county basically. That, and felons who vote.

December 15, 2010 3:35 pm

@ Mark says:
December 15, 2010 at 2:14 pm
Absent a Global enforceable agreement (which is extremely unlikely), what exactly do AB-32 and other California or even National requirements along these lines do, besides impose financial hardship, except make a few left wing radicals feel good about themselves? It doesn’t create any new jobs – except in China perhaps. Is the population in CA so drugged out they don’t care what you political types do? 30 years ago, when I lived in LA , a study was conducted by the official air quality people and the amount of marijuana smoke in the LA basin was easily detectable. I suspect it has gone up since then. California has bragged for years about how it “leads the nation” in any number of areas. I think it’s ways past time to put that brag out to pasture. Nobody is following you, especially that part of the country you people only see from an airplane.

December 15, 2010 3:39 pm

The “why” may be answered in this way:
1. California believes that CO2 causes catastrophic global warming (see e.g. AB 32 preamble, which lists a long parade of horribles). No “climate change,” no “climate disruption,” no “climate chaos” for California! Nope, it’s pure “Global Warming.”
2. Energy efficiency measures reduce energy consumption, and thus CO2 emissions (never mind that California’s electric energy is some of the “greenest” in the nation, if not the world, due to a) geothermal energy, b) hydroelectric energy, 3) solar, wind, and nuclear (not renewable by any means but has low emissions of CO2, if you don’t count the construction and fabrication issues, and fuel preparation issues, and fuel transport issues, and future reprocessing issues, and decommissioning issues, etc. as nuclear proponents are prone to do). )
3. Energy efficiency measures also reduce home heating requirements, so natural gas use is reduced. Very little home heating oil is used in California.
4. California is convinced and has publicly stated time and again that AB 32 creates jobs, and AB 32 will be the economic engine that rescues California from its dismal 12-plus percent unemployment. “Green jobs are growing while other jobs are declining.”
5. California states that cutting residential energy by 40 percent WILL be done while electricity prices increase only 13 percent. Thus, there will be a savings to each homeowner who does this.
6. California will show the way, be a world-leader, in achieving CO2 reductions while improving the economy. Thus, the rest of the world will be in awe and will follow California’s lead. (AB 32’s text actually says this. Except for the part about being in awe.)
Counts 1, 4, 5, and 6 are clearly false, yet California as a state is hell-bent on racing down this path. A song from the sixties comes to mind: “The Eve of Destruction.”

December 15, 2010 3:39 pm

Mark says:
December 15, 2010 at 12:04 pm
Well, as promised, here is my attempt to answer the questions posed, by name.
#1) The City (and State) use the ICLEI software that calculates greenhouse gas production based on readily available data like energy use, vehicle miles traveled, economic activity, etc. The reports are produced ever five years. The City commissioned one in 2005, so another is du
#2) The city does not measure this
#3) I agree that the city reduction alone will have a negligible impact. I do not have any right to tell homeowners what to do in their homes, or anywhere else for that matter. Cities, however, have a long-standing precedence of regulating individual behavior for the collective well-being
#1 I’m sure you meant to say the City ESTIMATES GHG emissions using some data and some other estimates (e.g. vehicle miles traveled). Surelymyou can’t believe the ESTIMATE is an accurate depiction of the actual GHG emissions?
#2 So the City punts on measuring the impact of their actions. Is it reasonable, then, that the City is ASSUMING there is some impact or are they ASSUMING there is no impact? Or does the City just not care, because the real point is simply to push the boundaries of what they can enforce on “the collective”?
#3 Please cite other examples where a government is forcing a futile action to be taken for the better of the collective… Outside failed communist and socialist societies please.

December 15, 2010 3:59 pm

I have an idea for those worried about automated toilet-paper dispensers.
How many like me (as I get older) awake at 3am in need of a visit to the WC?
Having spent much of my youth trying, mostly without success, to discover the different “plumbing layouts” between boy and girl, I can now confirm with some certainty that the girls prefer the toilet seat left permanently in the “down” position.
So along comes I at 3am – decision time – do I strain to bend down and lift the seat – or just accept where it is and sit to do what comes naturally
Now my question is quite simple – if sitting there doing my “thing” – I presume I am rewarded with a certain ration of loo-roll. Yet how many boys actually use the stuff for a simple pee !!!
QED – I have a secret supply of loo roll, bypassing the loo-police and all of it legit
Take that as a blow for male dominance (said ever so quietly whilst ‘er indoors is asleep and can’t hear me utter the words – heaven forbid)

kadaka (KD Knoebel)
December 15, 2010 4:35 pm

From Zeke the Sneak on December 15, 2010 at 3:23 pm:

What about the Northern Ca and Southern Ca idea that gets discussed every once in awhile?

Does this nation and the world need or deserve this Ca-Ca?

Dave Worley
December 15, 2010 4:56 pm

I say let California remain a shining example of the folly of socialism.
We probably need a constant reminder.
Sorry Anthony….

December 15, 2010 5:05 pm

Here is a letter I sent to my City Council;
I am forwarding this email put together by my good friend Brian. I ask you to view this comprehensive explanation in it’s entirety and save this email for future reference. As you will see a ways down in this email, Eric Feichthaler signed us on to this! You will see his name on the list.
I have Addressed The City Council On this Issue about a year ago. As a science hobbyist, I study the Earth’s Climate. People in the honest scientific community have assessed due to the longevity of the current solar minimum, three years on going now, and the massive La Nina forming in the Pacific ocean, the Earth has been dramatically cooling in recent years and the planet’s temperature stopped rising in 1998.
No matter what you believe about Man-made global warming, man-made climate change, man-made climate disruption, or whatever, use your physical ability to assess for yourselves what the climate of Cape Coral has been doing in recent years. Our climate has been getting demonstrably colder in direct contradiction to what the man-made global warming pushers have been telling you.
In my presentation to the City Council I showed the science behind the Global Cooling going on in recent years, and I suggested the City Council use this information to our advantage in its advertising and tourist budget that would explain to people moving from colder climates up north, to consider visiting and moving to Cape Coral. Our depressed economy can use a shot in the arm from people moving from colder climates to take advantage of what we have to offer. An Advertising campaign touting our still relatively warm climate as compared to the brutally cold winters up north will raise some eyebrows as it will focus on natural climate variability causing the Earth’s colder conditions in direct opposition to mans negligible affect on climate as proven out by the Sun’s recent influences. That’s why the Copenhagen and Cancun climate summits in the past two years ended up as dismal failures. Natural phenomenon such as the current solar minimum has also led to fewer hurricanes as demonstrated by zero major hurricanes hitting the US in the past two years as I have predicted, my prediction being 100% accurate. I predict 1 or 2 minimal hurricanes hitting the US in the next few years and very few for the foreseeable future as long as the grand solar minimum persists. People can go on the web to see the Sun’s condition for themselves, the TV will not inform you of what is really going on as they are in the business of socially engineering their own interests.
Should our city and county be buying into the man-made global warming meme, it is being done to our own detriment. I ask you to read through this presentation that follows and consider distancing ourselves from anything that has to do with the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI): Local Governments for Sustainability.
(The rest of the email is too long to list but it thoroughly describes ICLER in our lives.)
So many man hours dedicated to mitigating an imagined problem, it’s just mind boggling.

December 15, 2010 5:06 pm

Way back when, at the beginning of my 39 year career as a corporate and then airline pilot, I was flying a 51,000 ft capable Lear Jet. Very often, on our west-bound legs, we would choose FL470 or FL490 (wrong way was not an issue at those altitudes!) where we got very nice rides and a significant reduction in headwinds. My colleague in the cockpit had a great deal of trouble keeping his thoughts to himself. Often we would hear the airline pilots “down in the 30’s” complaining about the ride and he would comment on the nice ride we were getting at FL470 or 490, knowing full well they could not achieve those altitudes. One day after one of these typical remarks of his, we heard a deep, southern accented voice reply, “You hear that Clem, them boys is up in the moronosphere!”. I laughed so hard I almost collapsed, and, after thinking about it, never again did I fly at those altitudes. (The danger is simply too great in an airplane with such a small cabin volume.)
This is all my way of saying, and I have waited 30 years to do so, and I would credit that unknown airline pilot if I knew who he was, “Do you hear that Clem, them govenment boys in Chico have spent way too much time in the moronosphere!”

December 15, 2010 5:31 pm

Ok…I just have to ask. Please understand that I was born in Maine, raised primarily in the Northeast (Maine, Ct., and Nh.). I have served on a zoning board, I’ve worked in high tech, I’m a veteran of the Army, and I’ve owned my own business. I now work for a company based in San Jose.
I have to ask…what do these people actually DO? What is their contribution? Do they produce anything? Do they in some way make it easier for those that DO produce something to do so?
Has anyone asked them these questions? Seems to me that a lot of them may be “hiding”…and not too well.

December 15, 2010 6:07 pm

kadaka (KD Knoebel) says:
December 15, 2010 at 4:35 pm
From Zeke the Sneak on December 15, 2010 at 3:23 pm:
What about the Northern Ca and Southern Ca idea that gets discussed every once in awhile?
Does this nation and the world need or deserve this Ca-Ca?

You’re right. Two Californias? I think I need my head examined!

Frank K.
December 15, 2010 6:30 pm

It’s still my contention that Chico State University is likely the biggest polluter (CO2 and otherwise) in the town of Chico. Closing it would surely achieve all of the objectives of the town’s sustainability committee…

December 15, 2010 7:13 pm

As Northern California residents know, Chico and Santa Cruz are almost identical in their world view. Here is a likely voter from Santa Cruz.

December 15, 2010 7:26 pm

Thanks for answering the question: what is a banana slug?

December 15, 2010 7:27 pm

And just to show the world that mindless voters are not limited to California, here is South Carolina’s entry in the voting-your-money-into-globaloney-pockets sweepstakes.

December 15, 2010 7:39 pm

The banana slug is the mascot of the UC Santa Cruz football team, IIRC. A banana slug is a spineless yellow slug about 4 – 5 inches long that lives among the redwoods. It looks amazingly like a penis, which is probably why college students love it so much.
Did I pass?☺

Frank K.
December 15, 2010 7:44 pm

Anthony Watts says:
December 15, 2010 at 7:11 pm
My comment was, of course, tongue-in-cheek, but I hope Mark will think about this next time he and the sustainability task force wishes to impose more ignorant and onerous regulations on the people…
I was also wondering if Chico State (like most campuses) has one or more big construction projects going (e.g. new science or student building). If so, I wonder how Mark feels about this. More buildings = more resource consumption = bigger carbon footprint. And who will supply the water, sewer, electricity, heat, etc.? Clearly, the sustainability council should be out in force protesting the expansion of the campus in any form!
Finally, I have a daughter who is a senior in high school and will be attending college next year. With the outrageous costs of college tuition and fees these days, it is no secret who is “sustaining” those in academia…

Mark T
December 15, 2010 8:11 pm

Sounds like the geoduck, Smokey, mascot for Evergreen State in WA. The geoduck has larger hands.

December 15, 2010 10:30 pm

and yet no one can figure out why California can’t get or retain businesses…..

Magister Max
December 15, 2010 11:50 pm

I have trouble swallowing the idea of sustainability that is bandied about so much these days and is quickly becoming the approved wisdom. It’s not that I’m against being conscious of what we do, but I can’t agree with the notion that through “sustainability” we will somehow improve our lives (and having it forced down our throats). The very term of “sustainability” implies the preserving of things forever, the continuation of something ad infinitum and that this is a perfected state of living
(at whatever the cost it would seem). Through this we can live in harmony forever. Anything less is…… “unsustainable”.
This smirks of Newspeak for social engineering to me.
But look at the bigger picture. How can anything be truly sustainable, including sustainability itself ? Universally, nothing in our world has ever been perpetual. People are born and die, civilizations rise and fall, continents drift and collide. Even our sun will go dark someday. Perhaps it missed the city council sustainability meetings.
2500 years ago the Greek philosopher Heraclitus stated, “nothing endures but change”.
I think these ancients had bloody better grip on things than we do today……

December 15, 2010 11:56 pm

Mark says: “Cities, however, have a long-standing precedence of regulating individual behavior for the collective well-being.”
Jawohl. But there’s no well-being involved here, since the regulations are based on pseudoscience.
RichieP says: “…Other posters have also drawn your attention to … laws in fascist Germany (I know, I know, Godwin’s Law)…”
Godwin’s Law constitutes proof that we can learn from history, and are not doomed to repeat it. Unless we refuse to be reminded, by invoking Godwin’s Law.

Layne Blanchard
December 16, 2010 1:06 am

The real issue here is that the Malthusian Zealot Task Force should have been striking the ordinance rather than updating it.
That final act right before dissolving the Task Force itself for want of reason to exist.
Perhaps these Sustainonauts own a startup selling $800 shower heads? Colorful toilet tank figurines?
Part of the “vibrant” new “Green Economy” exploiting political power to simply mug the electorate.
Then again, I guess R. E. agents could just keep one in the glove box.
This “Task Force” is simply a festering cult. The day approaches when this cult will seek its “final solution” of Genocide……..
to save a planet oblivious of man’s presence.

December 16, 2010 6:45 am

Hey, look what’s up down at the Butte County Air Quality Manglement – they’re giving out $275 “grants” to classroom teachers to do sustainability lessons. This is the curriculum the STF is forwarding – having kids give personal energy use information about their families. This is the data that Chico State STF member Scott McNall has been accused of selling to companies like SAP, who use it to design and market energy conservation software.
They say they’re broke down at the county, so broke, they were browning out fire stations last summer. But they have enough money to supply teachers with $275 to conduct energy use surveys in their classrooms? Where do you think they got the money? I’m guessing, PG&E. I’m guessing, it’s PG&E who is selling the data to SAP.
McNall gets paid out of the grant from PG&E, he’s just doing their work for them.
I’m sure hoping for some people to turn up at the January meeting. Ann’s running for re-election, it’s time to put some heat to her pantaloons.

December 16, 2010 7:50 am

Smokey says:
December 15, 2010 at 7:27 pm
‘And just to show the world that mindless voters are not limited to California, here is South Carolina’s entry in the voting-your-money-into-globaloney-pockets sweepstakes.’
I don’t know what to say! The phrase we’d use here in GB is ‘gobsmacked’. Your education system must be in as bad a state as ours.

December 16, 2010 8:07 am

Anthony, the Chico Council made the upgrade to private property mandatory I assume after looking at a review of Austin City Council’s equally useless Energy Conservation Audit and Disclosure ordinance. One year after the law was enacted, Shonda Novak wrote an article with this tidbit about low compliance: “In 96 percent of the 4,862 audits conducted, the energy auditors recommended at least one improvement. However, only 520 homebuyers or sellers followed through on any of the recommendations.” Stated another way, 96% of the 4,862 audits conducted means 4667 homes needed at least one improvement. However, only 520 homebuyers or sellers, or 11% made the improvement.
I own an older home in Austin Texas and can only purchase electricity from Austin Energy, my electric monopoly. I’ve asked caring Austinites to pay for my energy audit, but so far, there have been no takers. Punitive green home taxes for owners of older homes seem acceptable to Austinites.
I blog about this stupid law at http://stoptheaustinecad.blogspot.com/

David S
December 16, 2010 8:46 am

Why are there so many nuts in California?

Frank K.
December 16, 2010 9:56 am

Does anyone know how much Chico State’s tuition and fees have increased (percentage basis) from last year? I’m just wondering how people who preach “sustainability” feel about their institution’s unsustainable increases in costs for students and their families.
I also came across this.
Arts and Humanities Building Receives Design Go-Ahead; Next Step Is New Parking Structure
Inside Chico State, Volume 41, Number 3 – December 9, 2010
“The first piece in the Arts and Humanities building project was laid down in October when $2.8 million was included in the state budget to design the building. The new building, which will stand where Taylor Hall is now, will be home to the current occupants and will provide updated classrooms, offices, and art studios. The project includes a 200-seat multi-use theatre and a new recording studio.”
Got that? $2.8 million dollars from tax payers just to design a new building for Chico State! What will be the actual construction costs? And who will pay for those costs? Oh, that’s right…

Brian H
December 16, 2010 2:13 pm

“The late Herb Stein was fond of observing that if something cannot go on forever, it will stop.”
There may be a lot of collateral damage in the serial pile-up that proves that Law, however.

Brian H
December 16, 2010 2:46 pm

Mike Haseler:
Ever hear of “Jevon’s Paradox”? He famously predicted that when efficient steam power made energy cheaper, it would accelerate the use of coal and deplete it faster than the older more wasteful methods would. It’s more subtle than that ( http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6116 ) and what happens in practice is that some better substitute is found or invented before supply hits the wall. (E.g., frac gas has ended the oil crisis: http://www.forbes.com/forbes/2010/1108/opinions-steve-forbes-fact-comment-energy-crisis-over.html ).

Brian H
December 16, 2010 3:13 pm

John H;
Here’s how to force HTML to show the angle brackets: ampersand+gt+semicolon, ampersand+lt+semicolon = & gt ; — & lt ; > < (kill the spacing in the example).

Brian H
December 16, 2010 3:24 pm

no one would expect you to limit your “involvement”, since the willingness and eagerness of pols and ‘crats and activists to interfere with and control others always tends to a maximum. They (you) can only be restrained by robust legal and electoral constraints; if those fail, we get back to Jefferson’s method of watering the tree of Liberty. You wouldn’t like that.

December 16, 2010 3:38 pm

Speaking of “tipping points”.
U.S. Debt = $13.8 trillion
U.S. GDP = $14.3 trillion
Assuming the numbers above are correct, “sustainability” is the very least of the problems needing attention.
Think of the children, if all the taxpayers are broke, who will pay for their Government salaries and benefits.

December 16, 2010 3:39 pm

Eventually all this “Sustainability” noise boils down to one thing in the minds of Ecological Illuminati: An opinion that 7 Billion Human beings is too many.
So how many should there be? 7 Million? 7 Thousand? Maybe just 7? And who would those 7 be?

Harry the Hacker
December 17, 2010 1:05 am

I sort of agree that goverment should not get in the way of a property transaction. But perhaps there is a bit of noise here about something thats not such a big deal.
Things like water saving toilets can be made – we’ve had them in Australia for 20 years. Some designs are better than others and its a matter of finding a model that works and buying one of those. When you do a re-fit here there is no choice – you can’t buy a single flush loo. They used to be 4.5 / 9 litres (about 1.5 / 2.3 US gallons). The current state of the art is 3 / 6 litres (0.75 / 1.5 US gallons).
We used to have people writing to the newspapers with silly comments like “which flush should I use”. Its pretty easy: Full for poo. Half for pee. Most people can remember that. I SOUNDS like some of the folk in the US are suffering from poor design of newer products. They can work just fine.
Other things don’t work so well: low flow shower heads are pretty awful and can lead to scalding (you need the water to be really hot to feel warm and the small amount of very hot water leads to skin damage). And Fluro lighting being mandated in some parts of a house… horrible lighting but cheap.
These things will pass – in time. LED lighting will eventually be cheap and appear in the building regs. Probably the only thing not to eventually go will be the horrible low flow showers.
I’m a bit mystified WHERE the $800 should be spent, though. Is the purpose spelled out or can it be used to do anything at all? If so, there’s a new racket coming your way…

maelstrom the cloud calculator
December 17, 2010 1:58 am

When the European powers discovered the New World they could claim legally only those lands for which there was no ancestral title, including by custom, tenure and so on. They had to “extinguish title” in order to claim the land of the natives. This led to many massacres and infamous treaties where blue glass beads were exchanged for small X’es placed on pieces of paper by natives usually holding no authority among their people.
More recently, in the current Wall Street coup d’etat, bank proxies have extinguished title by virtualizing select records on a shared database and shredding promisory notes and deeds.
Many alleged home owners in the United States have no title and no deed now, and neither does anyone else. Thus, the city of Chico might find it hard to enforce this $600 tax on home sales if in fact no legal and documented sale can be shown to have taken place.
Just saying.

December 17, 2010 4:57 am

Your explanation is very similar to the current POTUS, who arbitrarily replaced company directors and the CEO of a major car company without the necessity of any law. Where did he get that authority? There is certainly no legislation authorizing him to take those actions, which ultimately reside with the shareholders, and bond holders in the event of bankruptcy.
And assessing an arbitrary $20 billion fine against BP for an accident?? The Exxon Valdez oil spill took twenty years of litigation to try and wrest $5 billion out of Exxon – and the judgement was eventually overturned by the courts. But now the president haughtily informs the CEO of BP – who subsequently resigned – that the company has no say in how the President can spend the $20 billion that he has arbitrarily assessed against BP shareholders, with no need for the niceties of the rule of law? Obama has decreed that he will spend the loot as he sees fit. And not a peep from a tame and compliant Congress.
And at a Senate Finance Committee hearing Obama’s appointee, Neil M. Barofsky, the special inspector general for the Troubled Asset Relief Program [TARP], admitted that he couldn’t tell senators where nearly $3 trillion already spent on the bailouts went. Well, one thing is certain: that $3 trillion didn’t just evaporate. It went into the pockets of Friends of Barry. But the rest of us will have to pay it back.
And the AIG bonuses that the press ignorantly arm-waved about. The 40 people who created the problem at AIG had already skedaddled with their cash. So the Obama Administration went to 40 new people and said: help us, because we’ve got to have somebody who actually knows what the hell these derivatives are, and try and unwind them without losing all their remaining value. We’ll pay you a bonus. But the press fomented outrage that a relative pittance would be paid to save what was left of U.S. taxpayers’ assets. So Obama reneged on his agreement.
Many of the new people had agreed to work for one dollar against getting that performance bonus – but now Obama has changed his mind and says that a contract isn’t a contract in the US, for a relatively minor 160 million dollars out of trillions. 
The president is a thoroughly dishonest rabble-rouser: the 40 people who created the problem at AIG were long gone, so they approached 40 new people and said, please take these jobs, because we must have someone who actually knows what these derivatives are, to try to unwind them without losing all of their remaining value. And in return, we agree – in writing – to give bonuses to these 40 new people for their specialized financial expertise. So for a measly 160 million dollars out of $TRILLIONS being spread around to disreputable groups like ACORN and others — with no oversight — this despicable Congress and president have arbitrarily repudiated centuries of contract law.
Isn’t this simply ruling by decree? What company will be assessed a multi-billion dollar fine next? What CEO and Board of Directors is safe from the new primus inter pares? Where is the line separating industry from government? Or unions from government? Or education from government? Or the media from government?
Chico is only emulating the corrupt scofflaws at the highest federal level. And the products of the incompetent educational system [who in South Carolina complain of a map deficiency!] keep voting them in.
As I see it, the present setup is the ideal stage for a dictatorship; we’re already halfway there.
Crazy words, eh? But when the financial chickens come home to roost, as they will, that will be the easy way out for government-educated citizens who are voting as they are told in our Idiocracy.

December 17, 2010 5:28 am

Harry the Hacker says:
December 17, 2010 at 1:05 am
“I’m a bit mystified WHERE the $800 should be spent, though. Is the purpose spelled out or can it be used to do anything at all? If so, there’s a new racket coming your way…”
It is a racket either way, but if the spending is dictated you can be certain it is a racket and somebodys pocket is lined and wheel is greased.

Jack Simmons
December 17, 2010 6:40 am

Over the last six months I’ve purchased about 400 incandescent light bulbs – at greatly reduced prices. Home Depot will sell 96 bulbs for about $12. It’s some sort of clearance sale.
I figure I have a thirty year supply.
When my grandchildren need mercury free light bulbs, I’ll dish them out on a ‘as needed’ basis.
I’m ready for the light bulb ban.

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