Sunday, June 7, 2009
Time to Repeal AB 32
Part of the following is merely my speculation as to thought processes and motives of others. The facts are true.
The year was 2005, George W. Bush had just been re-elected and inaugurated for his second term as President, and the U.S. was not about to ratify the Kyoto Protocol to curb CO2 and other greenhouse gases. The Democrat party was in disarray. It was by no means certain Democrats would win the White House in 2008, and in any event Hillary Clinton was the leading candidate. It was even less certain that the country would elect a woman, especially Ms. Clinton with all the baggage she carries. The President, Bush, would not sign a climate change bill even if one was presented for his signature. Given these premises, certain Democrat state legislators in California took matters into their own hands, writing and passing AB 32, California's Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006. It took until 2006 for final passage and signature by the Governor.
The global warming scientists at the IPCC had painted a dire picture for Democrats to absorb, including rising sea levels causing massive flooding, increased temperatures leading to glaciers melting and Sierra snowpack disappearing, and public health disasters related to increased temperatures. All of these predicted disasters were blamed solely on increasing CO2 in the atmosphere, which they said increases global air temperatures. California Democrats in the legislature were convinced, at least enough to vote for AB 32. In addition, curbing CO2 through a variety of measures laid out in AB 32 was stated as being good for California's economy, would increase jobs, and would put money in every Californian's pocket.
Unfortunately, little of that was true then, and certainly not true now. The evidence shows that in 2005, global air temperatures had been rising for around 20 years, but had leveled off. Sea levels at San Francisco had dropped dramatically from 2004.
In just four years, 2005 to 2009, the global air temperature has dropped further, to within 0.1 degrees of the 1979 value. Sea levels offshore San Francisco continue to drop. The predicted California heat waves that cause electrical blackouts have not happened since September, 2007. The exact cause of the decline in air temperatures globally is subject to debate. Some attribute the cause to a quiescent sun, with very few sunspots. Others name a cyclical shift in ocean temperatures, both in the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. Some point to volcanoes, but there have been no major eruptions in the time frame. What is beyond dispute is that CO2 has continued to increase in the atmosphere. The crucial causal link between CO2 concentration and global air temperatures just does not exist. No one of intelligence can dispute that.
Nationwide, we have seen one of the coldest winters ever, and just this past week there was unseasonable and rare snow in June in the northern Sierras. Temperatures in Southern California are below average for the month of May, with cold rain falling the first week of June.
Where does that leave us? We are faced with draconian changes to the California economy from AB 32 mandates, to name only a few: Low Carbon Fuel Standard, Renewable Portfolio Standard, Cap and Trade, plus 70 others identified by California's Air Resources Board. Yet we have incontrovertible evidence, as stated earlier, that CO2 reductions will do nothing to change global air temperatures.
The benefits of AB 32, when all its requirements are implemented, are projected by ARB to be a measly $4 per week in every Californian's pocket. On such a slim improvement, is it prudent to disrupt markets in such a far-reaching and massive fashion? Meanwhile, expert economists who studied AB 32 and its Scoping Plan in great detail concluded the entire AB 32 is flawed to the core. One telling statement, by ARB, is that for every dollar invested in AB 32, two dollars will be returned. Yet, many of the requirements have no dollar return, and for those that do have a return, ARB will not state how many years must pass for those two dollars to show up.
Of course, the answer must be NO. It is time for Californians to face the facts, and stop AB 32 before more damage is done to the economy. This is a time of great financial upheaval in California, with one $42 billion budget deficit recently staved off but at a very high price including higher taxes and borrowing. Not even six months later, the state faces a $23 billion deficit that is unlikely to be solved. Additional burdens on businesses, industry, and residents as imposed by AB 32 will kill California.
AB 32 must be repealed, and repealed now.
Roger E. Sowell, Esq.