Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Is California dreaming?

One of the more interesting votes in California on November 2, 2010 was the vote AGAINST Proposition 23. The vote was 61% No to 38% Yes. The Suspend Air Pollution Control Law (AB32) – Proposition 23 - proposed to push back the timeline of the implementation of The Global Warming Solutions Act (AB32) until unemployment in the state dropped to a more acceptable level of 5.5% for at least one year. As of September 2010 unemployment in California was at 12.4%.

The Global Warming Solutions Act (AB32) was signed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2006. It was passed as a result of the now pretty much debunked (or at least highly questioned) theory that fossil‐based energy produces greenhouse gases that are the primary contributors to climate change. AB32 set the 2020 greenhouse gas emissions reduction goal into law. The reduction measures to meet the 2020 target are to be adopted at the start of 2011. The reduction measures address many sources of polluting emissions and the standards they are required to obtain by the year 2020. In reviewing just one of these reduction measures, the California Renewable Energy Standard requires a Renewable Energy Credit of 20% between the years 2012 – 2014, meaning that 20% of the energy supply must be provided through renewable energy sources such as wind and solar. Looking at this single item in the reduction measures, one can see the massive regulatory demands for compliance in tracking emissions, monitoring emissions and procedures for applications for acceptance of renewable electricity credits. It also provides for assessing fines accruing DAILY for non-compliance. This is in addition to the cap and trade provisions that have been established by AB32 wherein California is working with six other western states and four Canadian provinces through the Western Climate Initiative.

Beginning January 1, 2011, energy prices will skyrocket in the state, due to the required use of renewable energy sources as established in AB32. This will add tremendous stress to an already struggling economy. With more money being spent to pay for basic necessities, less money is available to spend on discretionary items. This will hurt small businesses that will also be paying higher energy bills. Prices will have to be increased to cover the higher overhead costs. The loss of money in the economy combined with the rising cost of operating a business will result in many businesses having to close their doors. There is no better prescription for job killing legislation than this.

Alternative sources of energy are dramatically more expensive than conventional coal power. An article in The Morning Bell from The Heritage Foundation on October 21, 2010 reveals the prices of energy that President Barack Obama’s very own Energy Information Administration (EIA) projects for various sources of electricity per megawatt hour in 2016 (based on 2008 dollars) as follows:

• Conventional Coal Power      $  78.10
• Onshore Wind Power            $149.30
• Offshore Wind Power           $191.10
• Thermal Solar Power             $256.60
• Photo-voltaic Solar Power     $396.10

By not passing Proposition 23, California has made the decision to follow their idealistic path to green energy solutions at the expense of skyrocketing energy costs, as any present alternative to conventional fossil-fuel based energy production can be up to five times more expensive.

California is hoping that its future economic growth will be in becoming a leader in the “green jobs” industry. An analysis by Green Jobs Ready of the voting results concludes that Californians remain committed to upholding environmental standards and remain committed to greenhouse gas emission laws.

In researching for this column, I discovered in the Executive Summary of Assembly Bill 32 the 2007 Integrated Energy Policy Report dated December 5, 2007 it states:

“Decisions affecting land use directly affect energy use and the consequent production of greenhouse gases, primarily because of the strong relationship between where we live and work and our transportation needs. Significant efforts are necessary to reduce vehicle miles traveled to meet the state’s emission reduction goals. California must begin reversing the current 2 percent annual growth rate of vehicle miles traveled. Research shows that increasing a community’s density and its accessibility to job centers are the two most significant factors for reducing vehicle miles traveled.”

This statement ties in with what I have been covering in several columns here in Tampa Bay, and the proposed light rail system, one of which was "How Can We Live Without Light Rail?". The referendum on the ballot for a 14% increase in the sales tax from 7% to 8% was voted down by a 58% majority, and was an amazing accomplishment for a small group of women committed to defeating an incredibly well funded big business and government driven advertising campaign. We are talking David vs. Goliath proportions here. This indicates the intent of the government at all levels to "fundamentally transform" how we choose to live our lives. The goal is to move us into more densely populated regions where we will live, work and shop within walking distance or within walking distance of a public transportation system.

On a national note, cap and trade legislation has been stalled in the Senate, and with the public becoming more aware of the disastrous effects it would have on energy prices, during the lame duck session there will possibly be an attempt to pass new Federal government mandates as Renewable Electricity Standards as outined in this article in the New York Times. This is essentially California’s AB 32 at the federal level. The effects would be the same as cap and trade; higher energy prices and millions of jobs lost.

There is so much work being done at the local and state levels, as well as at the federal level, in passing legislation with overreaching regulations having to do with “climate change” and greenhouse gas emissions. “Exchanges”, “carbon credits”, “renewable electric credits”, are all just different names for taxes. This is a gigantic scheme by government and exchange brokers to make money out of nothing at all, and take any honestly earned wealth from individuals and businesses alike.

It is hard to believe that the proposition to legalize marijuana did not pass, because they must all be smoking the stuff!

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