When magician David Copperfield makes things disappear and then reappear, he is creating an illusion. In fact, magicians prefer to be called illusionists.
We have illusionists of another sort in Sacramento, where the governor and some of our lawmakers claim to be creating lots of new jobs in California following the passage of AB 32 in 2006. This bill aims to curb greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide by a complex scheme of regulations that ultimately result in higher energy prices. The illusion is that jobs are created by increasing the cost of energy.
Sure, there are some green jobs created due to subsidies and incentives, but higher energy costs will largely drive business away from California to other states and countries. Whether or not you believe that mankind is causing global warming, it makes no sense for California to unilaterally put its economy at a disadvantage.
California already has a poor reputation among business leaders. “Chief Executive” magazine rates California as the worst place in the United States for job growth and business. Even high tech companies like Adobe are expanding elsewhere. The additional carbon tax imposed by AB 32 will only make matters worse.
Environmental groups strongly support AB 32, yet they also strongly oppose efforts to carry out some of its provisions. For example, a group of publicly owned utilities, including the Sacramento Municipal Utility District, proposed to construct a transmission line into Northeastern California so that renewable wind power could be developed. Environmental groups fought these plans during the public hearing process and the transmission project was scrapped. Environmental groups have also opposed efforts to develop solar power in the Mojave Desert.
More scientists are questioning the premise that the science of man-caused global warming is “solid.” The direct contribution to warming from additional carbon dioxide is small, perhaps one degree. The climate models have to include positive feedback from water vapor and clouds to get the really scary temperature rises.
However, empirical evidence shows that the feedback is about neutral or even negative, which means no runaway global warming. The climate models failed to predict the lack of warming for the past 10 years and a recent scientific paper showed that the warming predicted by the models in the lower atmosphere in the tropics is not there.
The states of Oregon and Washington had originally planned to join California in a carbon cap and trade program. Recently, their legislatures balked at passing the enabling legislation because it would hurt their economies.
This November, voters in California have an opportunity to decide whether AB 32 is good for California. Proposition 23 would suspend AB 32 until the unemployment rate in California drops back to the rate it was when AB 32 was passed.
Oil companies have provided much of the funding for this initiative because their operations would face increased costs. Of course, those costs would ultimately be passed on to consumers (you and me) at the gas pump.
A distinguished professor of physics at Princeton University has made a modest financial contribution to support Proposition 23. His name is William Happer and he studies the interaction between visible and infrared radiation and gases, which is at the core of the scientific debate. He testified before Congress in 2009 that the consequences of increasing carbon dioxide are “wildly exaggerated.”
California needs more jobs. A “yes” vote on Proposition 23 in November will boost California’s economy. I support it, Professor Happer supports it and I hope you will, too.
Ed Waage is a Pismo Beach City Council member who generates 95 percent of his own electricity using solar panels.