Monday, January 26, 2009

And Now it Starts

Greenhouse gas reduction bills like California's AB 32 and New Jersey's legislation use the same legislative strategy. They extract no pain at the front end and buy some time to win voter acquiescence before they kick in and start to extract a real cost. That is when the risk of roll back will be greatest. But as the commentary below illustrates, the calls for roll backs are already starting:

By California Assemblyman Logue (R-Yuba City).

As a new Member of the California State Assembly I have introduce my first bill to suspend AB 32 the so-called California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006. In 2006, on a party-line vote, Legislative Democrats passed AB 32 over the objections of the Republicans. Authored by then Assembly Speaker Fabien Núñez, ostensibly to combat the effects of global warming, AB 32 forces businesses to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2020. Appealing to the politically correct crowd of 2006, AB 32 was hailed far and wide by left leaning political elites. They could not have envisioned our economic downturn or the devastating effects of AB 32 on California's economy and it's environment - or could they...

There have been economic slumps in past decades and subsequent recoveries. But there are major differences between then and now. The military build-up of the Regan administration and California's extensive military and defense industry infrastructure fueled the economic rebound of the 1980's. In the 1990's the housing boom spurred economic growth even in the face of the Gray Davis deficit and the legislature's out of control spending. The difference today is that California no longer enjoys a robust military and defense industry economy and California's housing industry is in a shambles.

It gets worse, compounded by California's hostile regulatory environment, businesses are now expected to try to compete in a global economy. Sacramento liberals may say, "Let them eat cake..." but the global economy, by definition, means global competition - for states too. California's implementation of AB 32 has crippled our ability to compete in the global economy. Our prosperity is not just impacted by neighboring states, but by other nations. Competitors like India and China cheer our environmental regulations. Meanwhile, China is experiencing an industrial revolution the world has never seen. They are creating wealth and prosperity while we move money around. China and India are also building 600 coal-fire power plants over the next few years, which, when in operation, will negate any gains achieved by AB 32 in a matter of days.

In response to this, the left claims "We will create green jobs like solar panels." Unfortunately, we are now importing solar panels from China and those panels are being produced by plants powered by coal-fired plants (carbon emissions) and shipped to America. Because of our high land costs, environmental fees, impact fees, and over regulation of business, we will end up buying the green technology and products from Nevada, Texas, Mexico and China. The growing chorus in business is A.B.C...Anywhere But California.

In the last year alone California lost 95,000 private sector jobs and our manufacturing base has been devastated. An Independent economist stated AB 32 is a threat to our remaining 1.5 million manufacturing jobs. AB 32 will hurt our environment. AB 32 is a job killer, businesses can't comply and remain competitive, so they are leaving. This has resulted in less tax revenues for environmental mitigation bringing a halt to many programs that keep our public safe from toxic waste and limit our ability to provide safe, clean, water. As of now, there are thousands of toxic sites in California and no money to mitigate. Given the current state of our economy, AB 32 must be suspended before it suspends our funding for schools, law enforcement, parks, water storage, and any hope of economic recovery. At its most basic analysis - no private sector jobs - no economy - no economy - no tax revenues for the state for anything.We will be broke.

But we will be politically correct and Hollywood will love us!

Originally published at: http://www.flashreport.org/commentary0b.php?postID=2009012411552336&authID=2005081622025042&post_offsetP=0

Monday, January 19, 2009

The Coast

A new EPA report on the effects of climate change on the Mid-Atlantic region provides more rreaosns to begin to worry more about the well being of the coastal region. As the authors put it:
"At the current rate of sea-level rise, coastal residents and businesses have been
responding by rebuilding at the same location, relocating, holding back the sea by coastal engineering, or some combination of these approaches. With a substantial acceleration of sea-level rise, traditional coastal engineering may not be economically or environmentally sustainable in some areas."
For the complete report, go to: http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/effects/coastal/sap4-1.html.

Monday, January 12, 2009

More on Cleaning the Air

The New Scientist carries an informative article on ambient CO2 capture in its January 7th edition which includes a good disucssion of 3 competing methodlogies that are in play. A (The?) key issue is the energy requirements to seperate out CO2 from the asorbent material that is used to capture it to allow the sorbent to be reused. For more, go to http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20126901.200-can-technology-clear-the-air.html?full=true

Monday, January 5, 2009

Trouble?

Reports this weekend suggest a split in the incoming Administration over the needs of the climate and the needs of the economy with Lawrence Summers sounding alarms about the effect of unilateral climate action by the United States on its international competitiveness. That is worrisome. In the long run, Economics 101 supports Summers’ position. But in the short run, climate policy catalyzes efficiency gains which can offset and even provide a net advantage that offsets carbon cap or tax costs. But more importantly, it is a mistake to view international climate regulation on a market model. Most of the rest of the World is waiting for the U.S. to establish is climate bona fides. With that in place, it will hard for them to avoid acting as well for two reasons: organized inaction is very unlikely politically. Haphazard inaction is unlikely to be uniform. But as some countries join climate control efforts the international pressure on those that don’t will rise.

Re the comment below: the contrast is not between economics and climate but rather short term economics and long term economics. In the short run, there are economic gains from winding out of a carbon economy. But in the long run, the added cost of clean energy will have adverse (economic) effects.