Guest essay by Lawrence Hamlin California Governor Jerry Brown recently proposed via an executive order that the state establish an escalated future greenhouse gas emissions reduction target whereby year 2030 emission levels would be 40% below 1990 emission levels.
The state’s present emissions reduction target set in 2006 through AB 32 is to back off emissions to year 1990 levels by the year 2020.
But a proposed bill (SB 32) presently before the Assembly incorporating Brown’s escalated year 2030 greenhouse gas emissions reduction requirement lacks strong support.
Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon noted that “it’s not imperative” this bill clear the Assembly this year with the Legislature set to conclude business by August 31st. The Assembly rejected SB 32 last year. Brown has opened a fund raising committee as a first step to putting an environmental initiative on the ballot in 2018 if the Legislature fails to act on SB 32.
Concern by legislative members regarding increasing costs of emissions reductions targets to constituents that result in higher gas and electricity prices particularly in the states economically struggling interior regions are being questioned.
Brown is running into numerous and significant challenges regarding not only his newly proposed greenhouse gas emissions reduction scheme but also in regard to the legality, appropriateness and effectiveness of the states present emissions reduction mandates.
A number of these challenges were summarized in a recent article addressing the states cap and trade problems (https://calmatters.org/articles/with-cap-and-trade-in-doubt-key-questions-go-unanswered/) as follows:
“Is cap and trade, which essentially levies fees on major polluters, a success? How do we know? Which companies still exceed their allowed emissions? Which don’t? The air board has consistently said California would reach its emissions targets; how much is cap and trade contributing?”
“A lawsuit by the California Chamber of Commerce asserts that the price major polluters pay for excessive emissions is an illegal tax. Should the suit prevail, the 2006 law that authorized cap and trade could be voided. New legislation would need approval by two thirds of state lawmakers. That would mean some Republican support — a big ask.”
“Gov. Jerry Brown’s scooping up of auction proceeds to help fund the state’s controversial high-speed rail project has given cap and trade’s opponents a fulcrum for complaint, and the Legislature has yet to decide whether to extend the law past its 2020 expiration date. That’s not a sure bet.”
“The uncertainty surrounding the future of cap and trade has resounded in the market where emissions credits are bought and sold. Since 2015, each quarterly auction had produced at least $500 million until the one held in May, which yielded only $10 million. A June reserve auction was cancelled after no bidders registered.”
According to CARB data California’s greenhouse gas emissions peaked in the year 2004 at about 488 million metric tons CO2e per year.
The present year 2020 greenhouse gas emissions target was established under AB 32 with this law ridiculously called the “California Global Warming Solutions Act” and labeled as such in 2006 before the highly embarrassing global temperature pause forced climate alarmists and propagandist media to adopt the misleading and deceptive “Climate Change” label to try and hide the failure to see increasing global temperatures as projected by flawed climate models.
AB 32 set 431 million metric tons CO2e as the reduction target in year 2020 which represents about a 57 million metric ton CO2e emission reduction over the 16 year period from the 2004 peak year.
The latest 2016 EIA IEO report shows that during the 16 year period between 2004 and 2020 the world’s developing nations (China, India, etc.) will increase their CO2 emissions by more than 9 billion metric tons per year to a total of over 22 billion metric tons per year rendering California’s emissions reduction target as globally irrelevant and demonstrating the absurdity of the AB 32’s ludicrous title.
California’s year 2020 emissions reduction target is literally lost in “the round off” of huge and growing global wide CO2 emissions increases by the developing nations which EIA forecasts will continue to grow from year 2020 by more than an additional 3 billion metric tons per year by 2030.
Since 2006 California has collected more than 4 billion dollars in cap and tax fees under AB 32. More billions of dollars in increased costs have occurred because of the impact of higher electricity prices due to mandates for costly, unreliable and highly government subsidized renewable energy.
The U.S. has been far more effective in reducing CO2 emissions since 2004 than has California with the nation taking advantage of significantly increased use of lower cost natural gas supplies provided through fracking technology to both reduce CO2 emissions as well as reducing energy costs.
U.S. CO2 emissions are lower by 12% versus peak year versus about 9.5% lower greenhouse gas emissions for California even though Brown continues to boast that the state has “the toughest climate laws in the country”.
The U.S. success in reducing CO2 emissions has been achieved despite the actions of the nations climate alarmist in chief President Obama who has done everything in his power to deny the nation increased access to natural gas.
Obama has decreased the amount of federal land available for natural gas production, significantly decreased the number of leases issued by BLM for oil and gas production and significantly increased the days BLM requires to process new permits. (http://instituteforenergyresearch.org/analysis/oil-and-gas-production-on-federal-lands-still-a-disappointment/).
Governor Brown and his cronies are so blinded by their own misguided political and ideological beliefs concerning climate issues that they are driving state policy in directions which are imposing harsh, unjustified and unnecessary costs, restrictions and mandates that add burdens to the lives of tens of millions of Californians who struggle to make ends meet each and every day.
The states ruling bureaucracy is lost in a contrived make believe world of man made climate change political assertions built upon nothing but speculation and conjecture unconnected to and unsupported by real data but for which limitless amounts of bureaucratic meddling and interference can be justified and imposed upon the states peoples.
Governor Brown’s climate change actions and proposals represent nothing less than a disaster for California’s economy, individual freedom and future prosperity.