American Elephants

Is California Our First “Failed State,” and Why Should We Imitate Them? by The Elephant's Child
October 8, 2009, 9:36 pm
Filed under: Energy, Environment, Politics

Brilliant idea.  It’s Time, said EPA administrator Lisa Jackson,  the rest of the U.S. caught up with California.

Since California is on track to be our first failed state; is near bankruptcy with 12.2% unemployment reaching 40% in some parts of the central valley; and allowing some of the world’s greatest farmland to be destroyed by a misguided EPA attempt to protect a minnow; it is possibly time for Lisa Jackson to learn a little science and a little economics.

Ms. Jackson gave a speech at the Governor’s Global Climate Summit meeting in Los Angeles which highlighted the “important” role that California has played in climate change legislation.

California has been out front on energy efficiency, greenhouse gas reduction, and so much more.  In many ways, the country is once again catching up with what’s happening here.  That is literally true with one of President Obama’s signature initiatives — a groundbreaking agreement on national fuel economy and greenhouse gas standards for vehicles.

15 days ago, the Secretary of Transportation and I signed a formal proposal setting standards of 35.5mpg by 2016, and containing the first ever national action to significantly control greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles.  That breakthrough had its roots in the California waiver, which President Obama directed EPA to reconsider almost as soon as we stepped into office.  To stay ahead of the game — rather than just play catch up — discussions are already underway between California, EPA and DPT on what happens in 2017 and beyond.

There is nothing that California or any other state can do to eliminate or control  carbon dioxide, which the EPA is anxious to regulate to increase government revenue.  CO2 is a colorless, odorless, benign gas that we breathe out when we exhale. It is a natural fertilizer and completely essential to life. It is not the cause of climate change, for the climate is always changing, and always will.

During the history of the planet, there has been continual fluctuation in the levels of CO2.  During periods of high levels of CO2 in the air, life expanded massively and diversified.  In periods of low CO2, like today, plant life is not as energetic.  The CO2 content of the air has hardly ever been as low as today, and ecosystems suffer because of it. Referring to “carbon pollution” is simply political spin, not science, and to call for lowering a “carbon footprint” is asinine.

There are few places quite as barren as a dry lake bed in California’s Mojave Desert.  Hot sun beating down on parched earth.  Perhaps one of the best spots on earth for a solar power plant, or so one would think.  There was something of a land rush and BrightSource Energy staked out sites for plants to produce solar-thermal power, which uses mirrors to heat water with sunlight and create steam to power electric generators. This is the cheapest of the solar technologies per watt.  And the location between two urban centers of Las Vegas and Los Angeles was promising.

Enter the BANANAs, (Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anything).  The Wildlands Conservancy bought the land, a former railroad right-of-way, and donated it to the federal government as a wildlife “corridor”. (Note the term ‘corridor’, for nothing lives there).

The conservancy raised a fuss.  Senator Dianne Feinstein stepped in on the conservancy’s side and said she would push for a law to turn the Broadwell Dry Lake area into a national monument barring all energy development.   Some monument!  BrightSource gave up.

This is notable because it is typical.  Misplaced environmentalism, political correctness, and multiculturalism have done as much to destroy California as the state’s Democratic legislature has.  Environmentalism has replaced religion as the faith of many urban dwellers.

Of course solar power remains problematical by the simple expedient of producing power only when the sun shines.  At night, when there are the greatest needs for power, the sun does not shine, so all solar power must be backed up by the regular grid. Until some new form of power storage is invented, it will be of little use.

The new CAFE standards will raise the cost of every automobile produced in the U.S. and kill a lot of Americans, for the only way to raise mpg is by making cars lighter.  The brilliant “cash for clunkers” program has insured that nobody wants to buy cars, and the taxpayers have been put on notice that they won’t get any refund from the funds invested in Government Motors.  But useless environmental regulations will be continued to be passed because environmental organizations supported Barack Obama in the last election.

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