Monday, January 25, 2010

Time to Stop AB 32 and Rely on Valid Science

The California Air Resources Board, ARB, has a summary page on their website, containing their view of the beneficial effects of implementing AB 32, the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006. The basic information presented there does not add up. Here is what the webpage states:

"Benefits to California of Reducing GHG Emissions

Two separate and independent economic analyses show that significantly reducing California's global warming emissions is expected to create jobs and wealth in California.

Reduced GHG emissions by 2020 would result in a net increase of 83,000 jobs and $4 billion in income due primarily to reduced energy costs, says an analysis conducted by the University of California, Berkeley. More economic benefits of less GHG emissions are predicted.

According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, "Leading economists from UC found that eight policies can take the state over half way to meeting the 2020 reductions. These policies, such as cleaner standards for vehicles and capturing methane from landfills, can increase the Gross State Product by approximately $60 billion, and create over 20,000 new jobs." " [end of quote from ARB climate change website; note, "UC" is University of California; GHG is greenhouse gases]

Even if any of the above numbers were to be true (and that is a very big IF), the benefits, as stated, are miniscule in a state the size of California. For example, if income state-wide were to increase $4 billion annually in 2020, the money in each worker's pocket would be approximately $5 per week. ($4 billion per year, 16 million workers in California, is $250 per year per worker, and 52 weeks per year provides approximately $5 per week per worker). On this slim, very slim increase in spending - roughly two cups of fancy coffee per week - the entire economy is to be upended by AB 32.

The gain in employment is also very, very small when the entire California work force is considered. As above, the number of persons employed in California at the end of 2009 was approximately 16 million (source: California Employment Development Department, EDD). Adding 83,000 workers to a working force of 16 million represents an increase of 0.52 percent. As I write this, California is losing jobs at the rate of approximately 17,000 per month, and unemployment stands at 12.5 percent, one of the highest rates in the country.

The fact is that AB 32 creates a few jobs for government bureaucrats, for renewable energy design firms, for a small group of solar panel installers, and for a few workers who install renewable power plants such as wind farms and solar power plants. ARB states that the $5 per week per worker will also be spent on coffee, and that will create jobs for coffee shop employees. These are the green jobs.

The reality is that many businesses and industrial facilities will simply shut down rather than spend the huge sums to comply with AB 32. The cap and trade provision will require companies to pay approximately $20 to $30 per metric ton of CO2 emitted. That does not seem like so much, until one realizes that a single oil refinery will face a cap and trade bill of approximately $150 million per year. There are approximately 20 oil refineries in California. A 500 MW natural gas-fired power plant would face a cap and trade bill of approximately $70 million per year. There are many dozens of such power plants in California.

The tragedy of all this is, of course, that the "science" behind global warming due to greenhouse gases (which includes CO2 in the scientists' view) is completely false. Engineers such as Dr. Pierre Latour, and myself, have published on this, and have each made acclaimed speeches across the country on this topic. Recent developments (late 2009 and January, 2010) show that the supposed warming of the earth's average temperature in the 20th century was falsified, the peer review process was perverted, the temperature records themselves were adjusted and manipulated, and the IPCC report relied on questionable studies (not peer-reviewed, in fact, taken from general non-science magazines). The Wall Street Journal reported that the IPCC's alarmists predictions for melting glaciers in the Himalayan mountains was completely wrong (they are not melting), and the IPCC's statement that warming produces more intense storms and natural catastrophes (heat waves, droughts, etc) were also bunk. The IPCC authors clearly knew the truth, but published their outlandish claims anyway. (As an aside, one must wonder how long they thought they would hide the truth, especially in this era of the internet, and literally hundreds of millions of internet users world-wide. The ability to fact-check by millions of independent persons should give pause to those who seek to dis-inform.)

Examination of long-term temperature records for several small towns in the USA, and the three largest cities in California (San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego) showed not only no warming, but rapid cooling during the past 20 to 30 years for Eureka, California, Los Angeles, California, and San Diego, California. In fact, if the trend in Eureka does not reverse soon, there will be an ice age in Eureka. The temperature in Eureka is dropping at an average rate of 15 degrees C per century, yet the average temperature is only 10 degrees C. Eurekans actually have nothing to worry about, as the temperatures oscillate up and down. Still, the recent sudden decline is interesting!

The science that we call Physics cannot do what the climate scientists claim for CO2. Physics is impartial, and when it works, it works in all places. One cannot have a valid physical phenomenon that works sometimes, or only in certain areas. For example, no matter where one builds a fire on the earth, the fire produces heat, the flames flicker upward away from the center of the earth, and the closer one approaches the fire, the more radiant heat is felt on the skin. Yet, CO2 is not warming Eureka, California, nor Los Angeles, nor Abilene, Texas. But something caused San Francisco to warm just a bit in the last 25 years of the 20th century. Furthermore, almost all of the cities show a steady and consistent temperature increase from 1910 to 1940. In fact, the temperature rise in those three decades is considerably greater than the rise from 1975 to 2005. Yet, we know that CO2 is much higher concentration in the atmosphere today compared to 1940. How, then, did the temperatures increase in the 1920s and 1930s without CO2 to help them along?

Indeed, the very foundations of AB 32 are shown not to be true, even though CO2 is increasing worldwide. The preface to the AB 32 statute states that more and more heat waves will occur in California, droughts will occur more often and with greater severity, sea levels will rise, and the snowpack will melt earlier each year producing water shortages, among other dire consequences. Yet, as mentioned above, the cities are cooling, some dramatically. Heat waves are not occurring as predicted. The drought is likely over, as the state has wave after wave of large storms bringing rain and snow. The website shows the state has more than the average rainfall for this point in the water year, which would not occur during a drought. Sea levels off the coast of California are dropping, not rising as predicted. None of this should be true, if CO2 were in fact the cause of global warming as the IPCC scientists insist that it is. The facts rule, every time.

It is time to quit pretending that CO2 causes the earth's temperature to change, time to put aside the falsified IPCC reports with their non-peer-reviewed but agenda-driven conclusions, and time to stop AB 32 before California slips even further into the abyss of unemployment, state and local budget deficits, and all the other problems that will come as companies close their doors and move to other regions of the country and the world.

Roger E. Sowell, Esq.

Marina del Rey, California

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