California’s Governor Jerry Brown was gloating yesterday that he has figured out how to get Republicans to acquiesce to climate change agreements: don’t use the words climate change. By dropping those two words (or global warming) from this new ‘energy pact’, he got three Republican governors to sign on the dotted line. Brown, who boasted about this bit of trickery, said, “The whole genius of this accord is that we’re bringing together parties, governors of different philosophies” to address climate change by not mentioning climate change.
The new accord would “increase renewable power, integrate electricity grids across state lines and boost the number of cars running on alternatives fuels.” It will also increase customers’ electric bills, as renewable energy simply can’t compete with natural gas, cheap and abundant coal, or nuclear energy. Not without taxpayer-funded subsidies. Brown also made a promise at the Paris Climate Talks in Dec. 2015 to have an all-electric vehicle system in California by 2050.
While the accord touts it will “boost state economies, cut pollution and improve public health,” nowhere does it mention ‘climate change’ even though that is Brown’s raison d’être. And according to Brown, that’s the beauty of this agreement. By leaving out those two words, the plan sidesteps “the polarization that has blocked congressional action on climate change.” Brown is referring to the much more controversial Clean Power Plan.
Republican governors generally do a cost/benefit analysis of any plan that impacts taxpayers, and it is their primary complaint regarding the Clean Power Plan (CPP). The new CPP regulations, put together by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), would dramatically overhaul the U.S. energy sector by favoring renewables like solar and wind over nuclear and fossil fuels.
The EPA and Obama did such an extensive job of rewriting the laws of the U.S. energy sector that it even got the Supreme Court’s attention. The Supremes, in an unprecedented move, put the Clean Power Plan on hold pending the outcome of various lawsuits wending their way up the courts. Even the EPA’s chief administrator Gina McCarthy admitted in congressional testimony it would do nothing to avert global warming.
Brown, meanwhile, wants to get important stuff done without getting bogged down in larger controversies like ‘destroying jobs, increasing taxes, and raising energy prices.’ Brown also said that $4.3 billion in taxpayer dollars has already been invested in “renewable power projects within his state since 2009.”
Brown also noted they export one-third of renewable energy and they have more projects in the pipeline. Gov. Sandoval (R) believes that the climate change issue will eventually crop up but that for now the “focus is on what we have on the ground.”
Gov. Charlie Baker (R) of Massachusetts also signed the accord, even as his state faces “a $320 million shortfall in the current year’s budget.” Baker also axed the job vacancy of a climatologist that was never filled under the previous administration.
Of the governors who signed the new accord, only three were Republican: Terry Branstad (Iowa), Charles Baker (Massachusetts), and Rick Snyder (Michigan). Ironically, Michigan is one of 26 states suing the EPA’s Clean Power Plan. The accord says that the current challenges facing all states include extreme weather events like “floods, droughts, wildfires, and sea-level rise” that can hurt electricity’s reliability and the economy.
There’s just one problem: extreme weather events haven’t been increasing worldwide, and are actually decreasing in the United States. It’s a completely false talking point repeatedly uttered by President Obama and Gov. Jerry Brown.
Statistics show that droughts (including the naturally occurring one in California), floods, wildfires, and sea level rise aren’t increasing or accelerating. We are also in a Hurricane and tornado drought, and many of last year’s wildfires were arson related and caused by environmental mismanagement.
Scientists say that because of the naturally occurring El Niño of 2015-2016, California’s drought may finally be over this year. Currently, it’s the fifth worst drought since recordkeeping began and many critics point to Gov. Brown for making it worse. A combination of aging water infrastructures, mismanagement of water resources, and agricultural favoritism has made the drought even worse.
Instead of investing in desalination plants and upgrading the state’s ancient aqueduct systems, Brown is using taxpayer dollars on renewable fuels that can’t compete with nuclear, coal, or natural gas. Even oil is at historic lows, hovering at less than $30 a barrel.
Brown is also capitalizing on his Under 2 MOU, which would “slash CO2 emissions 80 to 95 percent by 2050.” To do that, nearly anything with a combustible engine or running on fossil fuels would need to be converted to electric.
And while much of California is uniquely situated to enjoy the benefits of constant sunshine, most regions of the country have more intemperate weather making wind and solar unreliable. Brown still refuses to invest in compressed hydrogen gas, which emits water vapor and oxygen upon combustion.
The energy pact, which was signed by mostly Democratic governors, would expand the use of renewable energy, modernize energy infrastructure, encourage clean transportation, plan for a large-scale energy transition, and work together on transitioning from reliable energy to renewable energy.
Governors from cash-strapped states may be looking at California’s bumper crop of money from cap-and-trade fees it has imposed on businesses and taxpayers to pay for all these goodies. So far, California has brought in over $2.3 billion in carbon tax revenue.
California, it should be noted, has the highest income tax according to the Tax Foundation. If you are single or married and make over $51,530, you pay 10.30 percent, and as your salary increases, the more you pay in higher taxes, topping out at a whopping 13.30 percent. They also have the highest fees and rates of all 50 states.