This is hilarious, from Columnist Dan Walters of the Sacramento Bee.
Gov. Jerry Brown hopped around Europe for two weeks last month, telling the world that to avoid a climate change Armageddon, it should emulate what California is doing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
As Brown was crusading in Europe, his Air Resources Board issued a report hailing California’s nearly 5 percent reduction in emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases in 2016 by companies governed by the state’s “cap-and-trade” system.
It appeared to underscore the efficacy of the system, whose extension was one of Brown’s proudest achievements this year and one he forcefully touted in Europe.
Appearances, however, can be deceiving.
Julie Cart, the environmental writer for CALmatters who covered Brown’s European sojourn, delved into the report’s data and discovered that the major reason for last year’s drop in emissions wasn’t cap-and-trade, or any other state action.
Rather, it occurred because unusually heavy winter rain and snow storms allowed utilities to depend less on generating electricity by burning fossil fuels and more on hydroelectric power from dams in California and other states.
“Emissions from in-state electricity generation decreased more than 19 percent last year, and emissions from imported electricity dropped nearly 23 percent,” Cart wrote.
That nugget of data is steeped in political irony.
California utilities are under a legal mandate to shift their power supplies from coal, natural gas and other carbon-emitting sources to carbon-free “renewable portfolios” — 33 percent by 2020 and 50 percent by 2030.
The latter requirement is imposed by 2015 legislation carried by Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León, who was part of Brown’s climatic posse in Europe.
However, the state’s definition of renewable sources specifically excludes the hydroelectric power from major dams such as Shasta, Oroville and Folsom that was the major reason greenhouse gas emissions dropped so dramatically in 2016.
Read the full story here
Sincere thanks to the 2015/2016 El Niño for usurping our Governor’s feckless climate action.