California Governor Gavin Newsom is pushing even stricter climate and energy goals, claiming this will prevent the immutable impact of climate change. But now, the governor is ramping up this push, asking the Legislature to increasing the 2030 goal for greenhouse gas reductions to 55%, speed up greenhouse gas cuts, set new interim targets for reaching 100% clean electricity and codify safety zones around new oil and gas wells, according to Newsom’s memo sent to the Legislature last week, CalMatters reported.
“Newsom also is seeking regulations from the state Air Resources Board that would govern controversial projects that would remove carbon dioxide from the air and sequester it underground.”
Why is Gov. Newsom pushing stricter climate and energy goals when California has the cleanest air in the entire country?
As the Globe reported Wednesday, The Sacramento County Board of Supervisors just voted to appoint 13 members to the newly created Climate Emergency Mobilization Task Force, following their declaration of a climate emergency.
Yet, when we drilled down on claims of “extreme weather,” “record hot temperatures,” and “climate disasters,” we found:
- Texas is having a heat wave. Parts of the East are experiencing hot weather. Notably, the hot spot closest to California is Carson City, Nevada with the “record heat” temperature of 79 degrees, up from a usual 76 degrees;
- California temperatures look really nice – and normal; and
- As for the “innumerable weather-related disasters,” the National Centers for Environmental Information (NOAA) doesn’t list a single “weather and climate disaster” for California.
So, what is the governor up to? Could he be making presidential campaign decisions and declarations? Is it all about the optics?
Newsom sent a letter to the California Air Resources Board last month asking the agency to strengthen its draft climate change scoping plan by including measures for offshore wind, heat pumps in homes and cleaner aviation fuels, among other areas, CalMatters reported.
The governor is prodding unelected CARB bureaucrats to regulate the state’s way into drastically and economically dangerous climate change rules – which is nothing new in California.
Assembly Republican Leader James Gallagher, R-Yuba City, responded to Governor Newsom’s five-point “legislative plan” which urged the state Legislature to enact even more stringent energy and climate targets that many have admitted are completely unattainable and unrealistic.
“Governor Newsom talks out of both sides of his mouth,” Gallagher said. “He is pushing the Legislature for 100 percent zero emission energy when just last month he pushed a budget bill that streamlined more natural gas plants in order to keep the lights on. He calls for more renewables while his Public Utilities Commission is considering a proposal that will disincentivize and tax solar projects. Of course his plan will only lead to higher costs for Californians who are already struggling to pay gas and utility bills.”
A little California Climate History
Gov. Jerry Brown, Newsom’s predecessor, was not only supportive of the CARB and its regulatory abuses, in October 2013, Gov. Brown, together with the Governors of Oregon and Washington and the British Columbia Premier, signed the Pacific Coast Action Plan on Climate and Energy, “to align climate change policies and promote clean energy.”
I reported the news the year before that CARB had set up a private corporation, Western Climate Initiative Inc. to manage the cap and trade program, in Delaware – Delaware is well known as a tax and corporate haven, and does not have the same open-meeting laws that California has. Why would a California state agency send cap and trade funds to a bank in Delaware?
“Cap-and-trade” refers to a regulatory system that imposes a cap on greenhouse gas emissions (GHG’s), grants regulated entities “emission allowances”—entitling them to emit a specified quantity of GHGs—and creates a market in which regulated entities may buy and sell allowances.
California’s cap and trade program essentially is a pollution tax on productive industries and businesses in the state. Taxing these businesses has done nothing to address climate change, or polar ice caps or rising sea levels.
In 2019, the United States government finally caught up with California under the Trump administration and filed a civil complaint against the state, several of its officers, the California Air Resources Board, and the Western Climate Initiative Inc., for unlawfully entering a cap and trade agreement with the Canadian Province of Quebec,” the Department of Justice reported.
“According to the complaint, filed today in the Eastern District of California, the defendants have pursued or are attempting to pursue an independent foreign policy in the area of greenhouse gas regulation,” the DOJ said. “The Constitution prohibits states from making treaties or compacts with foreign powers, yet California entered into a complex, integrated cap-and-trade program with the Canadian province of Quebec in 2013 without congressional approval.”
There’s no telling what happened with this important lawsuit once the Trump administration departed the White House.
In 2015, at a climate change conference in Toronto, Gov. Jerry Brown trained his moonbeam on what he called “troglodytes;” those who deny the threat of climate change. “We have to redesign our cities, our homes, our cars, our electrical generation, our grids — all those things,” Brown said, insisting that modern life as Americans know it must change if the planet is to be saved, the Los Angeles Times reported.
AB 32, the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, requires the CARB to determine the 1990 statewide greenhouse gas emissions level and approve a statewide greenhouse gas emissions limit that is equivalent to 1990 levels, to be achieved by 2020, and to adopt GHG emissions reductions measures by regulation. The CARB is authorized to include the use of market-based mechanisms to comply with these regulations.
The CARB was also given the authority to adopt and implement motor vehicle emission standards, in-use performance standards, and fuel specifications for the control of air pollution in the state to reduce petroleum use by 50%.
Also in 2006, SB 32 by Democrat Sen. Fran Pavley, moved the goal posts to increase a GHG emissions reduction goal of 80% below 1990 GHG emission levels, to be achieved by 2050.
SB 375 by Democrat Sen. Darrell Steinberg, the Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act of 2008, states that the CARB sets regional targets for GHG emissions reductions from passenger vehicle use. The Act requires each of California’s metropolitan planning organizations to prepare a sustainable communities strategy as an integral part of its regional transportation plan, which contains land use, housing, and transportation strategies that, if implemented, would allow the region to meet its GHG emission reduction targets.
By 2015, Democrat Sen. Kevin de Leon authored SB 350, which directed the CARB to adopt and implement motor vehicle emissions standards, in-use performance standards, and motor vehicle fuel specifications in furtherance of achieving a 50% reduction in petroleum use in motor vehicles by January 1, 2030.
According to de Leon, “SB 350 implements new Golden State Standards “50-50-50” benchmarks by raising California’s renewable portfolio standard from 33% to 50%, striving for a 50% reduction in petroleum use, and increasing energy efficiency in buildings by 50% by the year 2030. SB 350 makes these standards permanent, trackable, and enforceable.
In 2018, “seeking to cement California’s reputation as a global leader in combatting climate change, Gov. Jerry Brown… signed two measures designed to push the state to 100 percent renewable electricity and so-called carbon neutrality by 2045,” NBC News reported. “Senate Bill 100 (also by Sen. de Leon) raises the state’s already ambitious goals for producing electricity from wind, solar and other green sources. The aim is to ensure greenhouse gas emissions are low enough that they can be absorbed by forests, oceans, soil and other natural systems.”
None of this legislation was or is necessary since the state already achieved 1990 levels of greenhouse gas emissions a few short years after AB 32 was passed. And that is how you know that it is not about clean air or fuel efficient vehicles; but it is about government control.
As for Gov. Newsom’s latest push, it’s about appeasing environmental justice advocates, who have been agitating for stricter regulations on existing oil and gas operations, “which emit pollutants that can cause health effects.” Do they really cause health effects? Some say yes, and others say no.
For many years, UCLA’s Dr. James Enstrom challenged the scientific research that the California Legislature and California Air Resources Board used to enact clean air policies including regulating diesel fuel emissions. And then he was fired.
Enstrom earned a Ph.D. in Physics from Stanford University, and later earned his M.P.H. in epidemiology from UCLA.
Dr. Enstrom exposed the cover-up of “junk environmental science,” and exposed a phony scientist with a phony Ph.D. at the California Air Resources Board, and the subsequent adoptions by the Legislature of the new regulatory laws stemming from the fake science.
Dr. Enstrom debunked the CARB diesel regulations and proved scientifically that diesel particulate matter is found in heavy concentrations in the Northeastern Rust Belt states, not in California. He vehemently objected to the CARB’s aggressive state regulations, developed by complicit scientists at universities, funded by lucrative government research grants.
Enstrom proved that University of California science professors exaggerated the health effects of diesel particulate in California, knowing the results would be used by the CARB to regulate diesel-engine vehicles.
Enstrom said in an interview in 2014 that California has the cleanest air in the entire country.
Yet despite the junk science, and even the exposure of sketchy human experiments by the EPA, California’s Democratic lawmakers continue to forge ahead as if none of this ever happened.
And now, Gov. Newsom and legislators also are negotiating 11th hour details of a the governor’s $39 billion climate budget.
Why so late in the legislative session, which is over August 31st? Presidential optics? Or does Gov. Gavin Newsom just care very deeply about the climate?
“Smarter climate policy is not more mandates and targets,” Assembly Republican Leader James Gallagher said. “It is greater investments in forestry management to stop massive emissions from catastrophic wildfire, and carbon capture technology to meet reduction targets without drastically increasing consumer costs.”
Gov. Newsom isn’t as committed or dramatic as Gov. Brown was about climate change. But Newsom knows how to use the topic to burnish his environmental street creds.
Governor Newsom’s five-point “legislative plan” (click for details)
1. Codify Statewide Carbon Neutrality Goal.
2. Increase ambition of 2030 greenhouse gas emissions reduction goal from 40% to 55% below 1990 levels.
3. Establish pathway toward the 100% clean electricity retail sales goal by 2045.
4. Establish a setback distance of 3,200 feet between any new oil well and homes, schools, or parks, and ensure comprehensive pollution controls for existing oil wells.
5. Establish a clear regulatory framework for carbon removal and carbon capture, utilization and sequestration.
Important historical bill analysis for Sen. de Leon’s SB 350:
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