Showing posts with label Climate Change. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Climate Change. Show all posts

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Obama Weekly Address: Meeting the Global Threat of Climate Change Saturday August 29, 2015

The audio of the address and video of the address will be available online at at 6:00 a.m. ET, August 29, 2015.

Thursday, August 27, 2015


“I thought it was best to write about my own raw terror,” says activist Naomi Klein, in a moving interview in today’s Guardian.

Is she talking about the time she flew to Raqqa in Syria to try to audition for the al-Khansa brigade only to discover that the other girls found her politics a bit extreme and  that, anyway, like, black so totally didn’t suit her?
klein-katrinaOr the time she saw – eek! – a really big spider in her bath?
Or the occasion when the airline said: “Sorry Ms Klein. Business is fully booked. I’m afraid we’re going to have put you in coach.”?
Nope. She’s talking about climate change – and how she has sought to make it exciting and relevant to her readership, with special reference to Hurricane Katrina ten years ago.
“A lot of the way we communicate climate change doesn’t acknowledge the emotional side of it,” she explains.
Which, actually, when you think about it, is about as 1000 per cent the opposite of true as anything even Pinocchio would be capable of saying with his fingers crossed behind his back on International Liar Liar Pants Are On Fire Day.
The way we communicate climate change doesn’t acknowledge the emotional side of it?
The way your lot communicates climate change, Naomi, does nothing else butacknowledge the emotional side of it. That’s because it’s the only remaining vaguely functional weapon you’ve got left in your armoury. The science abandoned you long ago. The business case for environmentalism has all the credibility of “an undertaking of great advantage but no-one to know what it is.” All you greenies have left is raw emotion: never mind the awkward facts, just feel the world’s pain and enlightenment will follow.
No doubt this is why Klein has felt compelled to invent a deadly new “cocktail” to liven up her moribund doomsday thesis. It’s a bit like Al Gore’s ManBearPig, only worthier because it has the all important issues of “race” and “inequality” chucked into the mix. The cocktail came into her head – where else? – in New Orleans. It was while she was covering the floods after Hurricane Katrina ten years ago:
It was this cocktail of heavy weather, racism, and crumbling infrastructure. It felt like I was looking into the future. People said it was like science fiction, with a rich country abandoning the residents of one of its cities, vigilantes roaming the streets, with anyone around after curfew fair game.
For someone with a background of economic justice, what scared me about climate change is not just that the sea level will rise and we’ll have more storms, it’s how this intersects with that cocktail of inequality and racism.
Woah! Sounds terrible!
Except, of course, it is based on a fundamental lie. Hurricane Katrina was NOT caused by climate change.
This was acknowledged as far back as 2007 even by the fervently alarmist New Scientist.
The chaotic nature of weather makes it impossible to prove that any single event such asHurricane Katrina is due to global warming. It is also impossible to prove that global warming did not play a part, so debates about the causes of individual events are futile.
But that wasn’t going to stop shysters like Al Gore trying to make hay while the wind blew (in an address to the Sierra Club)
“Winston Churchill, when the storm was gathering on continental Europe, provided warnings of what was at stake. And he said this about the government then in power in England — which wasn’t sure that the threat was real — he said, ‘They go on in strange paradox, decided only to be undecided, resolved to be irresolute, adamant for drift, solid for fluidity, all powerful to be impotent.” He continued, “The era of procrastination, of half measures, of soothing and baffling expedience of delays, is coming to a close. In its place we are entering a period of consequences.”
“Ladies and gentlemen, the warnings about global warming have been extremely clear for a long time. We are facing a global climate crisis. It is deepening. We are entering a period of consequences.”
And how did global climate respond to this growing threat? Why, only by embarking onthe longest hiatus in hurricane activity in the US in recorded history:
Among the longest records of active hurricane zones is on the US east coast. NOAA’sHurricane Research Division has data back to 1851. No major hurricane (category 3 or more) has hit the continental US since Wilma in October 2005. That is the longest pause on record. NOAA says “It is premature to conclude that human activities — and particularly greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming — have already had a detectable impact on Atlantic hurricane activity.
Hence Naomi Klein’s desperate – and risibly dishonest – attempts to hide the decline in hurricane activity by throwing “race” and “inequality” into the mix.
Yes, it may well be that “race” remains a toxic issue in the US.
And we can all agree with her on “equality”: truly it is unconscionable and wrong that millionaire climate racketeers like Al Gore and Tom Steyer are able to enrich themselves at the expense of ordinary taxpaying folk by manipulating green legislation to their financial advantage.
But “climate change” as a justification for “raw terror”? Not so much. Certainly not on the basis of any current scientific evidence…

Monday, August 24, 2015

Fiorina Hits Todd for Using Climate Change to Talk California Drought

During an appearance on Meet the Press, Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina hit back at moderator Chuck Todd for pushing the issue of climate change during a discussion on the ongoing California drought. Todd proclaimed “[i]n your home state of California, drought, the wildfires. More evidence is coming out from the scientific community that says climate change has made this worse. Not to say that the drought is directly caused but it’s made it worse. 

For her part, Fiorina refused to accept Todd’s claim and instated blamed “liberal politicians” for causing the massive drought: 
You know what’s also made it worse? Politicians, liberal politicians who stood up for 40 years as the population of California doubled and saying, you cannot build a new reservoir and you cannot build a water conveyance system. And so, for 40 years 70% of the rainfall has washed out to sea. That's pretty dumb when you know you’re going to have droughts every single year, or every three years let’s say. 
The Meet the Press moderator continued to play up how climate change made the California drought worse and how he “asked Governor Jerry Brown to respond to that exact criticism you made. I said, do you blame liberal environmentalists in California, specifically on dams and reservoirs, and this is how he responded.” 
After Brown called Fiorina’s argument “such utter ignorance” and how “these people if they want to run for president, better do kind of eighth grade science before they make any more utterances” the Republican presidential candidate pushed back once again: 
That's a lot of insults but of course it makes no sense what he just said. It would be helpful if you were fighting fires to have more water. Firefighters in California have difficulty getting enough water now, so they're using other means. 
It would be helpful to agriculture and everything else to have water saved in the good years so that you could use it in the bad years. I'm not denying that California's air is dry. That's obvious. I'm not denying that there is a drought. But there is no denying that politicians have made this problem immeasurably worse. 
Via: Newsbusters

Continue Reading....

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Four Big Problems with the Obama Administration’s Climate Change Regulations

A few years ago, cap-and-trade legislation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions failed to reach President Barack Obama’s desk because constituents gave their Members an earful that cap and trade would amount to a massive energy tax. When the bill died in Congress, President Obama said that there was more than “one way of skinning a cat,” and here it is.[1]
The Obama Administration has finalized its climate regulations known as the Clean Power Plan. There are plenty of details to uncover in the 1,560-page regulation,[2] the 755-page federal implementation plan,[3] and the 343-page regulatory impact analysis.[4] To summarize, unelected bureaucrats at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are poised to do what America’s elected representatives refused: impose higher energy costs on American families and businesses for meaningless climate benefits.
The following are four early observations that should cause Members of Congress, state politicians, and the general public concern.

1. Higher Energy Prices, Lost Jobs, Weaker Economy

When running for office in 2008, President Obama famously remarked, “Under my plan of a cap-and-trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket.”[5] Although that plan ultimately failed to become law, the White House tasked the EPA with creating the regulatory equivalent, placing strict greenhouse gas emissions limits on new power plants and drastic cuts on existing plants. The plan includes greenhouse gas emission reduction targets for each state except for Vermont, Alaska, and Hawaii in hopes of reducing overall power plant emissions to 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030.
The regulations will drastically shift the energy economy away from coal, which provides approximately 40 percent of America’s electricity.[6] Restricting the use of that affordable, reliable energy supply will raise electricity rates, and those higher prices will reverberate through the economy. Businesses will pass higher costs onto consumers, but if a company must absorb the higher costs, it will invest less and expand less. The combination of reduced production and consumption will result in fewer jobs and a weaker economy.[7]
Despite candidate Barack Obama’s admission that cap and trade will raise prices, the Administration is attempting to spin the regulations as a win for the economy. Proponents of the Clean Power Plan argue that as energy prices increase, families and businesses will invest in more energy-efficient products and innovative technologies that will save them money in the long run. Arguing that increasing energy prices with regulations will save money by forcing energy-efficient product purchases is equivalent to cutting employees’ salaries and telling them that they will save money by shopping at Target. Just as the option to save money at Target existed before the pay cut, families and businesses already have an incentive to purchase energy-efficient products. When the government mandates efficiency, it removes that choice and makes consumers worse off.

2. No Climate Benefit, Exaggerated Environmental Benefits

The climate impact of the Clean Power Plan will be meaningless. According to climatologist Paul Knappenberger, “Even if we implement the Clean Power Plan to perfection, the amount of climate change averted over the course of this century amounts to about 0.02 C. This is so small as to be scientifically undetectable and environmentally insignificant.”[8] Climatologist James Hansen, who wants the Administration to do much more to combat climate change, has stated that “the actions are practically worthless.”[9]
The monetized climate benefits the Administration is touting are equally worthless. The EPA says the rule will provide $34 billion to $54 billion in annual environmental benefits after 2030. Yet these numbers are misleading for two reasons.
Social Cost of Carbon. First, the Administration uses “the social cost of carbon” to calculate the climate benefit. The EPA is using three statistical models, known as integrated assessment models, to estimate the value of the social cost of carbon, which is defined as the economic damage that one ton of carbon dioxide emitted today will cause over the next 300 years. The EPA uses the average of the three models to estimate the social cost imposed by climate change—$40 in 2015 and $56 in 2030. However, the models arbitrarily derive a value for the social cost of carbon.[10] Subjecting the models to reasonable inputs for climate sensitivity and discount rates dramatically lowers the figure for the social cost of carbon.
People generally prefer benefits earlier instead of later and costs later instead of earlier. Hence, it is necessary to normalize costs and benefits to a common time. For example, if a 7 percent discount rate makes people indifferent to a benefit now versus a benefit later (e.g., $100 today versus $107 a year from now), then 7 percent is the appropriate discount rate to use. The Administration’s own analysis shows how sensitive the social cost of carbon is to the discount rate.[11] When changed from a 3 percent discount rate to a 5 percent discount rate, the EPA’s $20 billion in projected climate benefits decreases to $6.4 billion—less than the EPA’s egregiously low projection of $8.4 billion in compliance costs.
Co-benefits. The second problem is the EPA’s use of co-benefits in inflating the benefits. The EPA exaggerates the environmental benefits by including the estimated benefits from reducing particulates (co-benefits) that are already covered by existing regulations and federal health requirements. Of those benefits, $20 billion come from direct climate benefits, and $14 billion to $34 billion are air quality co-benefits. Co-benefits sound positive. Who would not want additional health and environmental benefits from regulations?
The problem is that these benefits are double-counted over and over again with each regulation the federal government imposes. In some instances the co-benefits have accounted for more than 99 percent of the EPA’s estimated environmental benefits. The agency even overestimates the co-benefits by using questionable assumptions about causality and simplistic methods to calculate the benefits.[12]

3. Overly Prescriptive EPA Picks Winners and Losers

The EPA has been arguing that the plan will provide the states with plenty of flexibility and options in meeting its goal. It proposed that states use a combination of “building blocks” to achieve emissions reductions, including improving the efficiency of existing coal-fired power plants, switching from coal-fired power plants to natural gas–fired power plants, and using less carbon-intensive generating power, such as renewable energy or nuclear power. The proposed plan contained a fourth building block, demand-side energy-efficiency measures, but the EPA excluded that building block in calculating the state emission reduction targets. However, states can still implement energy-efficiency measures as a compliance option. The EPA would also allow states to impose a carbon tax or participate in regional cap-and-trade programs.[13]
All of these options present a Sophie’s choice of economic pain, reduced choice, and regulatory engineering of America’s energy economy. Although the EPA does not explicitly direct the states which path to take, the federal government is clearly nudging them to choose expanded renewables and energy efficiency. If a state chooses to produce more renewable power or implement more stringent energy-efficient mandates for homes and businesses, it will receive extra credits toward meeting its emissions targets.
Coal is an obvious loser, but the final regulation also changed language that would have been beneficial for nuclear and natural gas. In the draft proposal, states would have received credit for prolonging the life of an existing nuclear reactor that was at risk of closing. In the final regulation, that is no longer the case. The White House also ignored the importance and increased use of natural gas, a reversal from highlighting the importance of natural gas in shifting away from coal.[14]
Rather than simply setting reduction targets, the Administration continues to favor its preferred energy sources while driving other sources out of production.

4. Federally Imposed Cap-and-Trade

States will have one year to develop and submit their compliance plans or to develop regional plans with other states, although the EPA will grant extension waivers as long as two years. If states choose not to submit a plan, as several state legislators, attorneys general, and governors have suggested, the EPA would impose its federal implementation plan. The 755-page proposed plan is cap and trade, and the EPA is considering two options.[15]
The EPA could set a cap on power plant emissions in a state and allow utilities to trade emissions permits with one another.[16] Alternatively, the EPA could implement a cap-and-trade plan that requires an average emissions rate for the state’s power sector. Environment & Energy Publishing explains,
A rate-based standard with trading could technically allow emissions to grow, as long as generators only emit a certain amount of carbon per megawatt-hour of power produced. A state with a rate around the same level as a natural gas plant could theoretically keep building more and more natural gas plants and stay in compliance.[17]
The EPA will decide on a final plan in the summer of 2016.

Congress and States Need to Take the Power Back

The threat of a federally imposed cap-and-trade plan should not scare states into concocting their own plans. Instead, Members of Congress and state governments should fight the regulation, rather than settling for a slightly more palatable version that will cause significant economic harm while producing no discernable climate or environmental benefits.
—Nicolas D. Loris is Herbert and Joyce Morgan Fellow in the Thomas A. Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies, of the Institute for Economic Freedom and Opportunity, at The Heritage Foundation.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

[Commentary] Climate change and the Latino community

Climate change and its components adversely affect the Latino community. For example, the 2010 census data show that Latinos became the majority in 191 U.S. metropolitan districts, especially in areas with high vehicle traffic and power plant activity.
Furthermore, data from the American Lung Association indicate that Latinos have the highest incidence of asthma. A major issue is the impact of power plants as the largest source of carbon pollution in the U.S., accounting for approximately one-third of all domestic greenhouse emissions, a climate change component. Of concern is the connection between the asthma and the emissions.
However, there is a broader context that should worry Americans: climate change. While greenhouse emissions are the result of the power-plant operations, the results of such emissions have been global warming in the intermediate term and climate change in the long term. Invariably, global warming and climate change have been used interchangeably but are in fact distinct events in a greater set of environmental problems.
President Barack Obama meets with United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in the Oval Office on Aug. 4 in Washington, D.C. The two discussed a rangeThe Colorado Latino Leadership, Advocacy, and Research Organization (CLLARO) has recently completed a research project that measured the Latino community's perception about climate change. Almost half of the respondents identified themselves as bilingual or multilingual compared to English only or Spanish only. Among several survey items was one asking the respondents whether climate change is the same as global warming. The bilingual/multilingual group was almost fifty-percent more likely than the English speaking group and more than twice as likely as the Spanish speaking group to respond correctly.
Bilingualism and its cultural components can be proxies for cross cultural sensitivity — i.e., aware of events in both the Latino community and the larger one. Therefore, these findings, among others, highlight the importance of culture and more specifically cross cultural understanding of the impact of climate change on the Latino community.
Understanding such difference is key to developing strategies for dealing with the overall problem of climate change. The enforcement of the Clean Power Plan will begin the process of mitigating the adverse fall out from power plant emissions. The plan calls for cutting carbon pollution from the power sector by 30 percent from 2005 levels. The proposal also requires cutting pollution from soot and smog by over 25 percent by 2030. The results will be cleaner breathing and better health.
However, to ensure that such mitigation occurs in ways that improve the health of the Latino community, there is a need for diverse representation at the strategy table, whether that table is set by the governor, the Colorado congressional and senatorial delegation, city mayors and/or the private sector. Given the evidence, culturally responsive persons are more likely to understand the issues and recommend viable steps for improving the quality of life for the Latino community. These steps can include outreach, community education, involvement in the public policy process, and, of course, voting.
As part of the national strategy to deal with climate change, CLLARO supports the Clean Power Plan and will encourage members of the Latino community to support it also. The improvement in the quality of health and life within the Latino community and the overall Colorado community merits such support.
Christine Alonzo is executive director of the Colorado Latino Leadership Advocacy Research Organization. CLLARO will host a Research Expo on Aug.13 at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts from 5 to 7 p.m.

[VIDEO] Schumer Pleads With GOP On Global Warming: Just Listen To “Totally Impartial And Non-Political Scientists”…

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

[VIDEO] EXCLUSIVE: Video shows Hillary Clinton boarding private jet just hours after launching global-warming push – and she's using a FRENCH aircraft that burns 347 gallons of fuel every hour!

Just hours after Hillary Clinton unveiled her presidential campaign's push to solve global warming through an aggressive carbon-cutting plan, she sauntered up the steps of a 19-seat private jet in Des Moines, Iowa.

The aircraft, a Dassault model Falcon 900B, burns 347 gallons of fuel per hour. And like all Dassault business jets, Hillary's ride was made in France. 

The Trump-esque transportation costs $5,850 per hour to rent, according to the website of Executive Fliteways, the company that owns it.

And she has used the same plane before, including on at least one trip for speeches that brought her $500,000 in fees.

On Monday the Democratic presidential front-runner announced the details of her initiative to tackle climate change, calling it 'one of the most urgent threats of our time.' 

But shortly afterward, a videographer working with the conservative America Rising PAC spotted her at the private air terminal in Des Moines.

FIfteen seconds of video shot just after 12:00 noon, local time, shows Clinton walking up the plane's stairs while an aide hodls a giant black umbrella over her head to sheld her from falling rain.

'Despite her campaign’s best efforts to rebrand her as a down-to-earth fighter for "everyday Americans," Hillary Clinton’s jet-setting ways are just further confirmation that she’s out of touch with the American people,' the group's communications driector Jeff Bechdel told

'It’s that kind of hypocrisy that makes the majority of voters say Clinton is not honest or trustworthy.' 

Via: Daily Mail

Will Hillary’s ‘Half A Billion Solar Panels’ Promise Send Billions To China?

Hillary Clinton’s newest campaign promise to install half a billion solar panels across the country has been praised by liberal media outlets and environmentalists, but could this pledge end up benefiting China?
On Sunday, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton promised to install half a billion solar panels by the end of her first term and get the U.S. to a point where it can generate enough green energy to power every home in the country.
“Through these goals, we will increase the amount of installed solar capacity by 700% by 2020, expand renewable energy to at least a third of all electricity generation, prevent thousands of premature deaths and tens of thousands of asthma attacks each year, and put our country on a path to achieve deep emission reductions by 2050,” Clinton’s website boasts.
While there’s no doubt U.S. companies and green energy interests would benefit from the “competitive grants and other market-based incentives” Hillary promises to implement under her plan, the deal will also be a boost to the oppressive Chinese government.
“Mrs. Clinton’s plan would be a huge boost to China and Taiwan, where over 70 percent of solar photovoltaics are made,” Daniel Kish, senior vice president of policy at the Institute for Energy research, told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
“It’s also a huge boon to Japan and Malaysia, who make the lion’s share of the remaining world production,” Kish said. “I’m not sure Americans are going to be comfortable with Chinese solar panels covering their houses, plugging into their electricity systems and taking their jobs as official government policy.”
Thanks to government subsidies, China is the world’s largest producer of solar panels, and could see huge benefits from increasing solar energy incentives in the U.S. A 2014 report by the European Commission found that “China and Taiwan together now account for more than 70% of worldwide production.”
“The majority of panels [in the U.S.] are manufactured abroad, with the plurality coming from China and many from other Southeast Asian countries and Korea,” a spokesman for the Solar Energy Industries Association told TheDCNF. “The imposition of tariffs on Chinese panels is beginning to have an effect on Chinese imports, however, and we’ve seen domestic production increase over the past six months as Chinese imports decline.”

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Commentary on the presidential candidacy of Bernie Sanders

We think that it is a good thing that Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is running for president. Senator Sanders has attracted some of the largest crowds of any presidential candidate by hammering away at the growing income and wealth inequality in the U.S. He supports the $15 per hour minimum wage, a government single-payer health care program and has been a consistent opponent of so-called ‘free trade’ agreements such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership or TPP.
Senator Sanders has also been a critic of Wall Street and the most blatant displays of the richest 1%’s domination of elections. He wants to overturn the 2010 U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision that ended restrictions on corporate donations to political candidates. Sanders has also fought hard against the right wing and oil and gas industry’s opposition to any action on climate change.
That said, we cannot support the candidacy of Mr. Sanders. As senator, Sanders supported the 2010 Comprehensive Immigration Reform bill that included more militarization of the border, more temporary workers, cutting legal immigration from Africa in half by the elimination of the so-called diversity visa, and cutting back on family reunification visas. Sanders has said almost nothing about the ongoing police occupation of oppressed nationality communities, and the plague of police killings that target young Black and brown men.
While Sanders has been a critic of the Pentagon, he does so from the perspective of pinching pennies, not from an opposition to U.S. intervention in countries around the world. Sanders has supported sanctions on Russia that are part of the U.S. strategy for ‘regime change’ in former soviet countries to isolate Russia. Even worse, he has been a supporter of the brutal Israeli attack on Gaza, which massacred over a thousand Palestinian civilians and hundreds of children.
For those of our readers who see change coming through elections, there is (unfortunately) no major candidate to the left of Senator Sanders. He is certainly better than Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party mainstream, having opposed President Bill Clinton’s welfare reform and having endorsed the Reverend Jesse Jackson’s campaign for president in 1988. But for those of us who see that “change is in the streets,” we will be putting our time, energy and meager amount of money into organizing on campus, in the community and at our workplaces, not into the election campaign of Senator Sanders. We invite you to join us.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Jerry Brown Takes On Climate Change-Denying 'Troglodytes'

California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) on Tuesday urged a group of 60 mayors to take action in their cities on climate change, warning that global warming is "the biggest threat of our time" and denouncing skeptics as "troglodytes."
At a climate change conference hosted by Pope Francis at the Vatican and attended by U.S. mayors and global leaders, Brown offered a dire assessment of climate change's potential effects in the near future.  
"We don’t even know how far we've gone, or if we've gone over the edge,” Brown said. "This is not some linear set of problems that we can predict. We have to take measures against an uncertain future which may well be something no one ever wants. We are talking about extinction. We are talking about climate regimes that have not been seen for tens of millions of years. We're not there yet, but we're on our way."
Brown criticized politicians and business leaders who are skeptical of global warming and its effects as "troglodytes" who have a vested interest in "bamboozling" the public about man-made climate change.
"We have fierce opposition and blind inertia. And that opposition is well-financed, hundreds of millions of dollars going into propaganda, into falsifying the scientific record, bamboozling people of every country," Brown said. "We have to fight that propaganda and overcome the inertia and the tremendous opposition." 
Noting that he's "not counting" on the GOP-controlled Congress to address climate change, the governor pressed the mayors to cut carbon emissions in their communities. 
"We have to respond and if we don't, the world will suffer," he said. "We will all suffer. In fact, many people, millions, are suffering already."
Brown, now in his fourth term as California governor, has made climate change one of his signature issues in office. Earlier this year, he issued an executive order accelerating California's targets for slashing greenhouse gas emissions. In May, he signed a pact with 11 other states pledging to sharply reduce emissions by 2050. And later this year, the governor will travel to Paris to attend the United Nations climate conference, where 196 countries will meet to sign a new climate change agreement.
The Vatican conference, attended by municipal leaders like New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, comes one month after the release of the pope's encyclicalon climate change that called for a "bold cultural revolution" to fight global warming.
"Climate change is a global problem with grave implications: environmental, social, economic, political and for the distribution of goods," Pope Francis wrote. "It represents one of the principal challenges facing humanity in our day."

[VIDEO] Martin O'Malley: Climate Change Created ISIS

Democratic presidential candidate Martin O'Malley attributed the rise of ISIS to climate change and extreme poverty

Friday, July 10, 2015

CALIFORNIA: Legislature Should Examine Costs of Climate Control Policies

Regardless of differences in opinion about approaches to combatting climate change, California decided in 2006 that the state would have a comprehensive greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction program. Now, nine years later, the AB 32 programs are beginning to take effect and having a financial impact. That impact is being felt by consumers in their electricity bills and there are strong indications that other cost increases will be coming soon.
The unexpected magnitude of the costs, coupled with the uncertainty about future economic impacts, demand greater evaluation of the costs that will be associated with any new climate change proposals (SB 350, SB 32, and the California Air Resources Board Scoping Plan). This is hardly a revolutionary approach – in fact, cost analysis is an approach the state should prioritize for all new policies – but proponents of new climate change proposals seem surprisingly blasé about their need.
To be fair, there are several studies: Energy and Environmental Economics, “California State Agency’s PATHWAYS Project: Long-term Greenhouse Gas Reduction Scenarios;” Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, “Modeling California policy impact on greenhouse gas emissions;” and Next 10, “California Climate Policy to 2050: Pathways for Sustained Prosperity,” that review cost impacts and conclude that the proposals will actually lower overall consumer costs. Those studies make assumptions about the future costs with many caveats about population and economic growth. They may be correct assumptions or they may be faulty. However, the Wall Street Journal opined on a study in November, 2011, showing that AB 32 would cost the average household $3,857 in increased costs by 2020. So before any legislation moves forward, NFIB/CA is requesting that the legislature not blindly accept these assumptions but fully analyze the cost issues and allow a public debate over these far reaching policies.
Here are some basic questions that small businesses need to know about these proposals:
What will Californians have to pay in increased electric costs to reach the 50% renewable energy goal? Already, many school districts, hospitals, businesses and residents have seen increases in their electricity bills and many of the costs associated with AB 32 have not yet been built into the rates. The California Energy Commission’s own numbers estimate a 28% to 42% increase in electricity rates by 2020. Many of the studies that show consumers will pay less rely on “savings” to offset the higher electricity costs but those savings are vague and there is no indication when those savings will be available to consumers, much less whether they are quantifiable and verifiable. The alternative renewable energy sources being pushed can be several times more expensive than traditional energy sources, particularly since energy from dams and solar roof tops are excluded from the equation, and these costs will constitute half of consumer electricity bills.
What will ratepayers need to pay to transform the state’s electricity infrastructure? According to the studies, the 50% petroleum reduction goal will require the number of Zero Electric Vehicles (ZEVs) to climb from 100,000 to over 7 million. That increase will require a massive new investment in infrastructure to transform the transmission and distribution system and to build charging stations. Who will pay for the billions of dollars of new infrastructure? Are those costs built into economic projections models? And what provisions in the new proposals will prevent all the benefits going to those can afford Teslas and solar panels — and the costs being borne by middle and lower income families and small businesses? And electric cars are often heavier than others, and contribute to serious wear and tear on our highway systems without paying maintenance taxes at the pump.
How much will energy efficiency proposals cost California residents? We’re leaders in energy efficiency, and committed to further efficiencies. But all efficiencies have a cost, and we need to know what we’ll have to pay to make climate change goals feasible. But we do know that we’ll have to increasingly rely on electricity. Do the math: a new electric stove — $800 to $1200. A new electric water heater — $1200 to $2000. A new electric furnace — $600 to $1200. Will California residents and business be required to replace existing appliances? Will restaurants, for example, be required to replace all their gas stoves with electric ones? Will lower income homeowners and qualifying small businesses receive government assistance to convert their property?
These costs matter. They matter to small businesses and they matter to hard-working Californians. If we truly desire to maintain the integrity of the legislative process and protect our businesses and families, we need the legislature to conduct a full cost examination of climate change policy impacts.

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