Saturday, December 8, 2007

A follow-up on California’s ‘save the planet’ law

Recently in this blog it was pointed out that California passed a law to reduce ‘greenhouse emissions’ but it was unclear what would be done with this ground braking attempt to change the way Californians live for the vague promise that the law would reduce ‘global warming’. Now as more information becomes available, the foolhardiness of this legislative effort becomes even clearer.

Because the emissions base year is 1990, the law requires greenhouse emissions be reduced in California by 2020 to what they were in that year; namely, an estimated amount of 427 million metric tons. In reality, there is no way of actually knowing what the emissions were in 1990 but our California legislators took the word of environmentalist and other global warming extremists to set the ground rules. Steve Frank says "Based on these made up numbers, jobs will be lost, roads will get clogged and the cost of government will skyrocket—and not a single elected official can be blamed—all of this was done by anonymous appointees at a hearing no know knew about (though noted in newspaper articles) from an organization only the wonks know exists." – and he is dead right.

To arrive at the amount of emissions that form the base line (i.e. emissions in 1990), state, federal and industry economists and engineers came to that determination after making 13,000 separate calculations. Air board staffers looked at every economic sector, from aviation to timber and figured out how much carbon was stored in forests, and even in the discarded lumber in landfills. They calculated the mix of power purchases from hydroelectric dams in Washington state versus coal-fired plants in Utah. They also counted the number of cows and horses living in the state 17 years ago, and how much methane (a powerful greenhouse gas), came out of their front end and back end when they farted.

Besides setting the reduction target, the Air Board enacted complex rules to require more than 800 large industrial plants to report how much greenhouse gas they emit, the first such regulation in the nation. The 800 sources, covering 94% of the state’s emissions, include electric generators and marketers, oil refineries and cement plants — any industrial outlet that emits more than 25,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide and other gases each year. This is a daunting and very expensive task that will likely be reflected in higher costs passed onto customers. The Air Board has declared that "it will look at state regulation of land use, (traditionally a local responsibility), in order to meet greenhouse gas targets".

In the biggest understatement of the year, Air Board member Daniel Sperling said "To get to 2020 is going to require major changes in behavior".

It is amazing that californians are not up in arms over this incredable effort to change how state residents will live in the future. In 20 years or less, gone will be light bulbs, lawn mowers, fireplaces, BBQ’s and jobs. Workers will either have to work from home or be forced into government-provided transportation, packed like sardines (New York City commuter trains come to mind), paid for by major tax increases. Driving to work in cars will also be a thing of the past and even many summer vacations will have to go if you can’t use the family car because of out-and-out government restrictions on car use or because the price of fuel will be taxed out of the budget form many Californians.

But, take heart; your sacrifice means you will have cooperated with Governor Terminator and Democrat legislators in ‘saving the planet’. Global warming alarmists will give you a gold star, and Arnold may even win a Nobel prize.

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