Cheat-Seeking Missles

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Arnold's Costly Warmie Grandstanding

Gov. Schwarzenegger, shown here in his post-global warming garb, signed a whacked new law last week pledging that California would emit 25% less CO2 by 2020 ... that's just over 13 years away, in case you're not keeping track of time.

Writing in today's OCRegister, Pepperdine econ professor emeritus George Reisman shows just what a work of grandstanding the pledge is:
California accounts for about 2.5 percent of the world's man-made carbon-dioxide emissions. Thus, if the new law achieves its objective, then, other things being equal, those emissions will be reduced by slightly more than six-tenths of 1 percent. This would scarcely be noticeable in any case and will be utterly lost alongside the vastly greater increases in emissions that are almost certain to take place in China, India, and elsewhere.
Making the pledge won't come cheaply:
Already, California's electricity rates are 40 percent above the national average because of its government's intervention. And because the effect of the new legislation is likely to be to rule out all sources of power but natural gas, California's electricity rates are likely to go much further above the national average.
And it won't come without major political damage:

[T]he law's authors ... took pains to prevent their law from being largely circumvented by the simple device of building conventional power plants outside the state that could then sell power to customers within the state. The law makes it illegal for any new power to be sold here that ... is not comparable in emissions to that produced from "the newest combined-cycle gas turbine."

It will be interesting to see if California again has power brownouts and blackouts like it did a few years ago, but this time rejects electricity produced outside the state ....

Interesting, indeed. The last time we had a big energy crisis in the state, it cost Gray Davis his job. Apparently no one in Sacramento was paying attention.

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