American Elephants

Now California’s Climate Cops Are Going After the Cows by The Elephant's Child

California is sliding slowly into the abyss. It’s not enough that 9,000 companies have packed up and moved to more tax-friendly states. The Bay Area is so expensive that few can afford to live there. Progressives run the place like their own personal slot machine.

The California Air Resources Board has issued regulations to cut the state’s greenhouse emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, but the board is getting worried about their climate agenda. It could all be ruined by natural phenomena.They’ve gone after the oil producers, the manufacturers and now they are going after the cows.

It’s methane, which”according to the board is a ‘short-lived climate pollutant with an outsized impact on climate change in the near term.” ” “Cow manure and ‘enteric fermentation’ (flatulence) account for half of the state’s methane emissions.”

“If dairy farms in California were to manage manure in a way to further reduce methane emissions,” the board explains, “a gallon of California milk might be the least GHG intensive in the world.” And the most expensive. Many California dairy farms have already been converted into nut farms, which are more economical amid the state’s high regulatory costs.

The board suggests that dairy farms purchase technology to capture methane and then sell the biogas to consumers. Yet the regulators acknowledge that most ideas involve environmental trade-offs and are not cost-effective without substantial government subsidies and regulatory credits that can be sold to fossil-fuel producers….

Other brainstorms include breeding animals that belch less and testing “gut microbial interventions”—though no doubt Democrats will want to see if the anti-genetic-modification activists object. This all may be too much information for readers, but it shows that in their attempt to impose their climate religion there is no corner of the economy or life that progressives won’t try to control.

They don’t give up. They believe what they want to believe, and are sure that anything else is a lie and shouls probably be prosecuted. The climate of the earth over the past century has warmed by approximately 7 tenths of a degree Centigrade.  Carbon dioxide, which they are desperately trying to get rid of, is fertilizer for plants and is greening the world, and helping to feed a hungry planet. California has managed its water resources so poorly that the great Central Valley, the breadbasket of the world, has turned into a dust bowl as they attempt to save the Delta smelt, a tiny bait fish that may or may not be endangered.

California’s Big Problems Include a Tiny Minnow. by The Elephant's Child

The Green Lobby convinced federal judge Oliver Wanger in 2007, that the Endangered Species Act gave the federal government the right to cut water to thousands of farmers in California’s Central Valley in order to protect the delta smelt, a 3″ baitfish.  Cutting off the water didn’t save the smelt.  New studies showed that cutting off 90% of the water had no effect on the smelt.  It’s still endangered. Wrong remedy.  The video above is from the Reason Foundation. It outlines the problems of the valley.

What the ruling did was to turn the west side of the valley into a wasteland.  California’s Central Valley has long been one of the great breadbaskets of the world. The fields and groves went fallow, family farms went under, and food prices went up.  The farmers went through two years of supply cuts before science and better information appeared.  Many of the farms have been bought up by agribusiness — which the Green Lobby hates. Ironic.

California is in desperate shape. Businesses and people are moving out of the Golden State in droves. The state is a poster child for the left’s big government welfare state. Some 2.3 million Californians are without jobs.  The unemployment rate in the state is 12.5, over 16% in the Central Valley. The state has lost 34% of its industrial base. The state’s budget gap for 2009-2010 was $45.5 billion, 53% of state total spending.  The unfunded pension liabilities for California’s state and public employees may be as high as $500 billion.

California is rapidly approaching bankruptcy, and may be beyond repair. 80¢ of every government dollar goes to government employees’ pay and benefits.  A typical San Francisco resident with one dependent pays $953 for health care, while the city employee pays less than $10.

Victor Davis Hanson, a 5th generation Californian who grew up on a farm near Fresno where he still lives and farms and writes, describes the problems in California’s agricultural heartland:

“[I see] former small farms – the vineyards overgrown with weeds, or torn out with the ground lying fallow. …  I don’t think I can remember another time when so many acres in the eastern part of the valley have gone out of production, even though farm prices have recently rebounded. Apparently it is simply not worth the gamble of investing $7,000 to $10,000 an acre in a new orchard or vineyard.
On the western side of the Central Valley, the effects of arbitrary cutoffs in federal irrigation water have idled tens of thousands of acres of prime agricultural land, leaving thousands unemployed.  … California coastal elites may worry about the oxygen content of water available to a three-inch smelt in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, but they seem to have no interest in the epidemic dumping of trash, furniture, and often toxic substances throughout California’s rural hinterland.”
Another former Californian, Allysia Finlay, an assistant editor at Opinion Journal writes:
“[The] government is run by a brothel of environmentalists, lawyers, public sector unions and legislative bums…When you inevitably crash and burn, don’t count on us to bail you out.”
In the center of California’s problems is the California Air Resources Board (CARB), run by an assistant former EPA administrator.  CARB plans to impose a pollution standard on Diesel exhausts, not backed by any scientific evidence, that would put California’s trucking industry out of business.  On top of that, they are attempting to impose a cap-and-trade policy that even California’s legislature has not been able to pass.  Neither science nor law will hold down the efforts of the Green activists. A San Francisco Supreme Court judge has issued a ruling that would keep CARB from implementing their plan.

The battle over water and the smelt goes on, and the science can go hang.

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