The Price of Green Virtue

The bill starts to come due for California’s climate change law.

When California’s economy was booming in 2006—remember that?—Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and many Californians wanted to show their environmental virtue by becoming the first state to pass a comprehensive climate change law. And so they did, for which the bill is starting to come due.

Lawmakers and environmentalists predicted that the new law, called AB 32, would become a model for the rest of the nation. It never did. They also said the Golden State’s head start in developing green technologies would create thousands of new jobs. In 2008 the California Air Resources Board even estimated that the new rules and cap-and-trade tax would increase state GDP. In short, AB 32 was sold to the voters who declined to overturn it in a 2010 referendum as a green free lunch.

Now fast forward to 2012. California’s economy is still struggling, the jobless rate is 10.8%, and AB 32’s taxes and regulations are starting to bite. Two new studies by private consulting firms add up the real-world cost to California families and businesses.

The first study—sponsored by the California Manufacturers and Technology Association, whose members employ 1.2 million residents—estimates the price tag for three major new regulations associated with the law: cap-and-trade taxes on carbon emissions, a “low carbon fuel standard,” and a stringent 33% renewable mandate for electricity production. Together these policies raise energy costs and are expected to reduce state GDP by between 3.5% and 8.9% by 2020.

Even under the “optimistic” scenario, that’s a loss of up to $447 billion in California output over eight years and represents a bigger loss in income than the 2008-09 recession. The cost per California family is estimated at $2,500 a year due to higher costs. Repeat after Milton Friedman: There is no such thing as a free lunch.

One alarming conclusion is that “emissions reductions due to economic harm account for 26% of total reductions, more than any ARB mandated program” except cap and trade. This means that a major way Californians will reduce their greenhouse emissions is by slower growth, chasing industry out of the state, and putting more people out of work. If Californians produce less, their carbon footprint is smaller. The Sierra Club must be loving this weak recovery.

WSJ

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2 responses to “The Price of Green Virtue

  1. My niece and her husband just recently moved to San Diego California.
    She was lucky enough to find a job in Cali, only problem is the job is a 60 mile drive EACH WAY!
    She said the cost of living there now is 40% higher than where they were living in Alabama.
    I wonder how long it’ll be before the “new” wears off of their move.

  2. Maybe a bit off of Junk Science, but every Californian should be safer in their own homes with the passage of this bill, or not.

    July 2, 2012
    Cali Makes Moves
    to Effectively Ban Most Semi-Autos

    (GunReports.com) — If you think it is hard to own and possess a semi-automatic firearm in California now, just wait until Senate Bill 249 gets enacted, NRA-ILA reports.

    Senate Bill 249 was amended from an agriculture bill to a serious anti-gun bill to eliminate the ownership and possession of most semi-automatic firearms by law-abiding Californians. SB 249, introduced by state Senator Leland Yee (D-8), would restrict any person from importing, making, selling, loaning, transferring or possessing magazine release components in semi-auto firearms (bullet button, etc).

    Senate Bill 249, if enacted, would ban the ownership and possession of AR-15s and other magazine-fed semi-automatic firearms that currently use “bullet buttons” or other tools to restrict the removal of the magazine. This anti-gun bill would also authorize civil and criminal penalties for possessing a “conversion kit.”

    Also, SB 249 would make the possession of a “conversion kit” a public nuisance, authorize civil and criminal penalties and require surrendering the conversion kit. According to this bill, a conversion kit is any combination of parts that, when affixed to a firearm with a fixed magazine, are designed and intended to convert that firearm into an “assault weapon” as defined in the bill.

    http://www.gunauction.com/news/article/20120706-Cali-Makes-Moves-to-Ban-Most-Semi-Autos.cfm

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