People are so bombarded with one narrative on “clean vehicles” and “climate change” that many are unaware that there are alternative clean energy sources, or automobile options other than electric vehicles, including clean, technologically efficient gasoline-powered cars that don’t generate carbon dioxide. Mazda says it is developing a car that would be cleaner to run than an all-electric vehicle. But these exciting developments get few headlines.
How did we get here?
In California, this all started with AB 32, California’s Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, which initially set a 2020 greenhouse gas emissions reduction goal into law.
“In recognition to the threat to our environment, human health, and human society posed by global warming, California enacted AB 32 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions significantly by 2020,” the 2006 committee analysis said. “ARB indicates that reducing GHG emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 and 80 percent of 1990 levels by 2050 means completely altering the types of cars Californians drive, and the fuels we use.”
However, as it was evident California would reach the 1990 levels of greenhouse gas emissions by about 2013, the CARB moved the goalposts by creating a plan to rid the state of 85 percent of its 22 million internal combustion engine vehicles by 2050 through implementation of its Low Carbon Fuel Standard, which took effect in 2011 and requires a reduction in “carbon intensity” in all fuel.
For many years, the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office raised concerns about the CARB’s implementation of AB 32, the scoping plan, and low fuel standard. “Our review found that the ARB’s economic analysis raises a number of questions relating to:
(1) how implementation of AB 32 was compared to doing business-as-usual
(2) the incompleteness of the ARB analysis
(3) how specific GHG reduction measures are deemed to be cost-effective
(4) weak assumptions relating to the low-carbon fuel standard
(5) a lack of analytical rigor in the macroeconomic modeling
(6) the failure of the plan to lay out an investment pathway, and
(7) the failure by ARB to use economic analysis to shape the choice of and reliance on GHG reduction measures,” the LAO explained in a 2008 report to the Legislature.
CARB specifically went after transportation, electricity, industry, and commercial and residential sectors for emission reductions. These sectors “must reduce … greenhouse gas emissions through the direct regulatory measures recommended by the program,” the LAO found. “However, after accounting for GHG emissions reductions resulting from the plan’s direct regulatory measures, the four sectors must together achieve additional reductions of approximately another 33 MMTCO2E (millions of metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents) through the cap-and-trade program.”
Is this realistic? Because the air board never produced trustworthy analyses, no one can know.
It was AB 32 that opened the door to every insane, irrational, and foolish environmental idea.
In California, the recycling Capitol of the world, why are there discarded COVID masks everywhere – parking lots, gutters, sidewalks, schools, playgrounds, and in parks? Can’t we create a special recycling bin just for old, used dirty masks next to our bins for paper, plastic bottles, and glass? (NOT) Maybe people can just throw them in a nearby garbage can? Or is this people discarding the mask in disgust, knowing it’s worthless?
The state’s recycling agency, CalRecycle, which was created to promote and run a public-good program, was paying bloated salaries to its executive staff even as the program faced extinction.
In 2019, California’s largest recycling business shut down, laid off 750 employees, and closed all 284 of its centers, even as the state Legislature was pushing legislation to ban plastic food packaging… knowing that China and Indonesia lead the world in plastic pollution of the oceans. So California lawmakers proposed legislation to restrict plastic usage … in California. Because California is an environmental leader and trendsetter on a global level, this bill is deemed justified.
Single Use Plastic Bags
Several years ago, California outlawed the use of “single use” plastic bags at grocery stores (but take-out restaurants, automotive and hardware stores can still use them), despite that most consumers reuse the bags for something. They were replaced with thick plastic bags at a cost to the shopper of .10 cents each.
During the early part of the COVID lockdown, grocery stores and Target suspended the charges and were giving the bags away, as they used to do as a courtesy for shopping there, and to discourage anyone from bringing cloth shopping bags from home, or reusing the plastic or paper bags.
Then, without warning, stores were charging .10 cents a piece again for their bags. And if you brought cloth bags or bags from home to reuse, store clerks refused to bag your groceries – as if the bags are contaminated with COVID. Except the clerk just touched every item you put into your grocery cart, as she took the items out of the cart, placed them on the conveyer belt and rang-up your order.
How stupid is that?
The Big Lie About Electric Vehicles
Electric cars have a dirty little secret: Every electric vehicle, and most hybrid vehicles, rely on large lithium-ion batteries weighing hundreds or thousands of pounds. Typically made with rare-earth minerals – cobalt, nickel, and manganese, among other components – these batteries are very expensive, costing thousands of dollars and aren’t environmentally friendly, requiring ingredients sourced from polluting mines around the world, and contaminate soil and water. And in the Congo mines, children are used as slave labor.
The real dirty secret about electric cars is that they are being pushed on the US and Europe hard – by China, which has the most lithium resources and it has been buying stakes in mining operations in Australia and South America where most of the world’s lithium reserves are found, according to the Institute for Energy Research.
The Dangers of Wind and Solar
And as California embraces all-electricity vehicles, it is doing so while also banning oil extraction and hydraulic fracturing (fracking for natural gas), leaving wind and solar to power the state. But wind towers are killing hundreds of thousands of birds every year, and millions of bats. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service admits more than 200 species of bird have been documented as killed by collision with wind turbines.
Dr. Shawn Smallwood’s 2004 study, spanning four years, estimated that California’s Altamont Pass wind “farm” killed an average of 116 Golden Eagles annually. This adds up to 2,900 dead “goldies” since it was built 25 years ago. Altamont is the biggest sinkhole for the species, but not the only one, and industry-financed research claiming that California’s GE population is stable is but a white-wash.
Eagles are not the only victims. Smallwood also estimated that Altamont killed an average of 300 red-tailed hawks, 333 American kestrels and 380 burrowing owls annually – plus even more non-raptors, including 2,526 rock doves and 2,557 western meadowlarks.
CA Lawmakers Attacking the Oil and Gas Industry
The Globe recently reported on dangerous new legislation specifically targeting the oil and gas industry: New Climate Change Disclosures Target ‘Commercial Development of Fossil Fuels.’ The California Air Resources Board (CARB) in consultation with the Secretary of State and the Treasurer, would be required to develop and adopt regulations…
Included in the legislation – the CARB gets carte blanche, unrestricted power, unconditional authority, on developing policy, despite that developing policy is solely the responsibility of the Legislature: “Any other information that CARB determines is necessary and appropriate to safeguard the public interest or directed at ensuring that investors are fully informed regarding a covered corporation’s climate-related risks.”
Assembly Bill 766 would require a covered corporation, if it engages in the commercial development of fossil fuels, to include in the covered corporation’s disclosure an estimate of the total and disaggregated amount of direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions of the covered corporation.