California's climate change policies have been an expensive bust
For more than a decade, California has won high praise from environmentalists for its stringent greenhouse gas restrictions. But a new report shows that despite the enormous costs of this effort, the state is doing a worse job at cutting CO2 emissions than the rest of the country, while badly hurting its working families.On my last trip to California, I found the air to be dirtier than it is near my home in Texas. The infrastructure was in disrepair and the gas was expensive. People are living in mostly older homes that cost two or three times what they would cost elsewhere. They have entered into an expensive failed experiment in the name of virtue signaling.
Back in 2007, California became the first state to cap CO2 emissions when then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed AB32, which mandated the state cut greenhouse gas emissions back to 1990 levels by 2020. Schwarzenegger called it "a bold new era of environmental protection."
Not to be outdone, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill last year requiring the state to cut emissions 40% below 1990 levels by 2030.
So, what happened? From 2007 to 2015, California managed to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 9%. But the rest of the country cut them by more than 10%, according to a new report from the Center for Demographics and Policy at Chapman University in Orange, California.
On a per capita basis, 41 states outperformed California on CO2 cuts over those same years.
Here's another way to look at it. Ohio, Georgia, Indiana, and Pennsylvania have about the same combined population as California. But these states saw emission reductions five times as great as California. (To be fair, California started from a lower base.)
Even that is exaggerating California's achievement. The study notes that because the state has become so inhospitable to manufacturing and energy production, it now imports more energy than any other state in the nation and relies heavily on imported goods.
In fact, California imports 66% of its crude oil, 91% of its natural gas, and 88% of the ethanol is uses from other states and countries. California alone accounts for almost a quarter of U.S. oil imports from the Persian Gulf and from Saudi Arabia.
Meanwhile, in 2015, it imported about $408 billion in products from other nations, or 16% of the state's GDP.
In other words, California is exporting its energy production and manufacturing base to other, more carbon-intensive states and countries, while patting itself on the back for its own CO2 reductions.