‘There’s a growing understanding that climate change is a material risk to investors and companies
just like cyber-terrorism or inflation.’
Recently California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an Executive Order authorizing the looting of voter-approved gas tax funding for road repairs and highway expansions to be used to fight “climate change” via the high speed rail he promised to shut down. Voters felt duped. Again.
The Executive Order by the Governor requires state government to “redouble its efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate the impacts of climate change while building a sustainable inclusive economy.”
Through the Executive Order, California Governor Gavin Newsom has redirected gas tax money to fund railway systems and other projects. The gas tax revenue would have repaired and upgraded the state’s broken highways and roads, California Globe reported in October.
“Newsom’s order directs the state’s Transportation Agency, pension funds and the department that manages government contracts to reconsider how they spend the public’s money with an eye toward investing in projects that could help Californians prepare for climate change,” the Sacramento Bee wrote.
What exactly does this mean?
“Social investing is dicey,” Sen. John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa) explained in a California Globe interview. “We are supposed to invest for value.”
Moorlach suggested that the governor may not be looking at the big picture. Sen. Moorlach explained that California is emitting far more greenhouse gas by using the old electricity infrastructure all over the state, which caused the wildfires, according to CalFire. The greenhouse gas emissions from the fires far exceeds any GHG reductions all year.
And on top of the high greenhouse gas emissions, millions of California residents were forced to purchase diesel or natural gas generators to keep their power on during the utility power outages. “He should tell CalPERS and CalSTRS to invest in backup generators!” Moorlach said laughing, noting that stock prices for generator manufacturers have doubled in two years.
The Executive Order effectively ignores money earmarked for road improvements, and pension obligations, redirecting it to “climate change” projects designed to “reduce fuel consumption.” The governor wants roads and lanes reduced, wants people out of their personal cars, and instead using public transportation or bicycles.
Specifically, “the governor issued an executive order that, among other things, directed the State Transportation Agency ‘to leverage the more than $5 billion in annual … spending for construction, operations and maintenance to help reverse the trend of increased fuel consumption and reduce greenhouse gas emissions,’” as the Los Angeles Times reported.
The governor ordered the agency to “reduce congestion through innovative strategies designed to encourage people to shift from cars to other modes of transportation.” He directed it to “fund transportation options that … reduce greenhouse gas emissions, such as transit, walking, biking and other active modes.”
“Instead of building capacity on our highways to move people and freight, Governor Newsom is funding his pet rail projects throughout the state,” Assemblyman Jim Patterson (R-Fresno) said in October. “This theft of funds meant to improve our roadways is a glimpse into the future of transportation in our state and Newsom continues to execute his September 2019 Climate Change Executive Order. The Central Valley is just the beginning. Other road projects will likely be next.”
“This is theft of our gas taxes by Executive Order,” Patterson continued. “Governor Newsom is intentionally starving us out of our roads. Voters approved SB 1 with the promise that our crumbling highways would get the attention they deserve. Instead of building capacity, our gas tax funds are being siphoned off to fund Newsom’s favored pet-projects,” Patterson said. “Governor Newsom’s promise not to forget about the Central Valley is full of hot air, just like his climate plan.”
However, Sen. Moorlach notes that transit usage is declining nationally, and in California, as well. Moorlach also discussed Gov. Newsom’s announcement that he would no longer buy cars from auto manufacturers who side with President Trump’s relaxation of emissions standards. The auto makers targeted by Newsom are General Motors, Fiat Chrysler, Toyota and several others that sided with the Trump administration in the ongoing battle over tailpipe pollution rules.
“Have you seen the Capitol parking basement lately?” asked Sen. Moorlach. “It’s full of Toyotas,” assigned to and driven by members of the Legislature.
Gov. Newsom posted a Tweet about his directive: “Carmakers that have chosen to be on the wrong side of history will be on the losing end of CA’s buying power. CA will stop purchasing vehicles from carmakers that have refused to protect our air & chosen to follow the regressive ways of @realDonaldTrump.
Carmakers that have chosen to be on the wrong side of history will be on the losing end of CA’s buying power.
— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) November 16, 2019
However, nowhere in Gov. Newsom’s Executive Order does he state what and how “climate change” will be reduced in California. What the order says is:
“Maximize reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.”
“Develop and implement sustainable purchasing policies.”
“Consider strengthening or adopting new regulations…”
“Align the state’s climate goals with transportation spending…”
“Leverage the state’s $700 billion investment portfolio to advance California’s climate leadership… the Department of Finance shall create a Climate Investment Framework.”
There is nothing concrete in the Executive Order to describe how, or explain specifically what needs to happen to “redouble efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate the impacts of climate change while building a sustainable inclusive economy.”
“Did he even read the directive he signed?” Sen. Moorlach asked.
“How much greenhouse gas emissions is created by powering high speed rail?” Moorlach asked. And, Moorlach said by refusing to improve and expand Interstate 5 and Highway 99, the Governor is creating more greenhouse gas emissions with idling cars stuck in traffic. We discussed the cities and counties with local councils and boards of supervisors approving “lane diets” and “traffic calming,” which has served to create epic traffic back ups and more idling cars spewing greenhouse gas emissions.
More Newsom Administration ‘Climate Change’ Talk
“Climate is a material risk to companies, both in terms of physical liability, like PG&E and wildfires and also when you talk about the transition to a carbon neutral economy because some assets will no longer be as valuable,” said Kate Gordon, Gov. Newsom’s director of the governor’s Office of Planning and Research, the Sacramento Bee reported. For instance, “electric vehicles are a solution and a player in the market,” she said. “We should be thinking of investing in electric vehicles. You want to avoid stranded assets as an investor and you want to avoid physical risk. There’s a growing understanding that climate change is a material risk to investors and companies just like cyber-terrorism or inflation.”
Sen. Moorlach questioned where the power will come from for all of the electric cars if California’s utility companies continue with scheduled power outages on windy days. And with the state’s current renewable energy mandate of 33 percent, 50 percent by 2025 and 100 percent by 2045, the electricity grid will not be able to withstand 40 million electric cars with intermittent power and rolling blackouts.
California purchases one-third of its electricity out of state – a figure that is bound to go up with each renewable energy mandate increase.
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