Public Health Researchers Float Idea of Climate-Change Warnings on Menu Items

Warning diners that red meat is bad for the environment is yet another attempt to socially engineer food choices.

A study released last week suggests that fast-food menus that feature labels urging diners not to order red meat off those same menus due to the “climate impact” of those food items can help convince customers to swap out red meat for what the researchers argue are more climate-friendly foods—from fruits and vegetables to poultry and seafood. The study, published in Jama Network Open and led by researchers from Johns Hopkins University, concludes that “climate impact menu labels may be an effective strategy to promote more sustainable restaurant food choices and that labels highlighting high-climate impact items may be most effective.”

The study’s data comes from more than 5,000 Americans who took part in a nationwide online survey last year. Study participants were instructed to “imagine they were in a restaurant and about to order dinner” from an accurately priced sample menu containing a variety of choices, including hamburgers, chicken sandwiches, plant-based burgers, and salads. 

The study asked participants to “order” different foods after viewing one of three types of sample menus online. Outside of a control group, the study presented web users with choices that either disparaged the sustainability of red-meat dishes or touted the sustainability of dishes not containing red meat. Based on the results, which showed people who were more likely to avoid red meat if it had a red warning label and more likely to order other menu items if they featured a green health halo, the authors conclude that “climate impact menu labels [a]re effective” and “that labeling red meat items with negatively framed, red high-climate impact labels was more effective at increasing sustainable selections than labeling non-red meat items with positively framed, green low-climate impact labels.”

The study has spurred some news outlets to suggest governments around the world may—or should—operationalize its findings.

“Policymakers have been debating how to get people to make less carbon-heavy food choices,” the Guardian recounted in a recent report on the study, “In April, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report urged world leaders, especially those in developed countries, to support a transition to sustainable, healthy, low-emissions diets.”

“Unfortunately, consumers have been resistant to change and many wish to continue eating meat,” a Phys.org report on the study laments.

Worse still, though the study itself does not suggest that it should be used to form the basis of any government policies, its lead author, Prof. Julia Wolfson of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, told CNN last week that “legislation or regulation may be necessary” to force restaurants to add climate warnings to their menus.

Let’s pump the brakes—for a couple of reasons.

Data from the study itself and, more generally, on the effectiveness of government-mandated menu labeling suggests the authors may wish to dial down their perception of the effectiveness of the labels they tested. For example, after completing their respective orders, the survey asked participants if they “notice[d] any labels” on the menu. As the study data reveal, only around 4 out of every 10 participants even noticed any climate-related labeling. While that’s a low percentage, in the real world—in an actual fast-food restaurant setting rather than in an online survey—the percentage would likely be far lower. That’s because, as I’ve explained time and again, study after study has shown that few people pay attention to mandated menu labels (except to choose which food or foods to order), and even fewer use that information.

The premise of the study itself also may rest on shaky ground. Some critics have pushed back against the notion that some chicken or seafood is more sustainable than all red meat. As the Guardian report on the study notes, “intensively produced chicken has been found to be damaging for the environment, as has some farmed and trawled fish.” Others disagree with the very notion that red meat is an inherently unsustainable food. While it’s become popular in recent years to argue that eating less red meat is better for the environment, that argument has received a good amount of pushback, with critics charging that swapping out meat for plants could be inefficient and ineffectiveharm human health, and have unintended consequences for the developing world. 

Even if I were to accept arguments that eating less meat is better for the environment, the choice to eat meat (or not) ultimately is and should be an individual’s to make. So it’s not “unfortunate” that consumers “wish to continue eating meat,” as Phys.org posits. And that wish isn’t a cry for government intervention, as Wolfson, the study’s lead author, argues. Rather, it’s a cry for freedom of choice.

Click here to read the full article at Reason.com

Gov. Newsom Relying on Politics and Deceit over CA’s High Gas Prices

We are witnessing political science and not climate science

Californians pay the highest income taxes in the nation, have the highest taxes on the wealthy, highest gas taxes and highest gas prices at the pump, highest housing prices, highest energy prices, most regressive taxes hurting the poor… need we keep going? California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s latest proposal is a new tax on oil suppliers, and will only serve to make gas prices even higher.

But CLIMATE CHANGE!

Gov. Newsom continues to demonize the oil and gas industry for “windfall oil company profits,” while patting himself on the back for “taking action to lower prices at the pump, by ordering the switch to winter-blend gasoline.” He also is “demanding accountability from oil companies and refiners that do business in California,” by calling for a windfall tax on oil companies, claiming that money “would go directly back to California taxpayers.”

We don’t believe for a minute that Gov. Newsom is woefully ignorant of the supply and demand economic model of price determination in a market. So that means the governor is relying on politics and deceit.

California’s record-high gas prices have been as high as nearly $8.00 per gallon in some locations.

Newsom cannot legislate a better climate by increasing energy costs, and turning over more energy decisions to unelected state bureaucrats, lobbyists, and activists. This is one of the worst things California’s Governor and politicians can do while claiming they are  “saving the planet,” but really harming Californians economically.

The Western States Petroleum Association has warned Gov. Newsom will start banning gasoline, diesel and even hybrid cars and trucks in 2026, well before California has an electrical grid that can handle the increased energy demand while keeping our light on, or before there are more affordable electric vehicle options for families.

Energy providers currently direct electric car owners to NOT charge their vehicles during hot days when they anticipate energy shortages and possible rolling blackouts.

The California Air Resources Board is leading this charge to fulfill Gov. Newsom’s executive order to ban the sale of gas-powered cars by 2035.

California is rich in natural resources which once powered the state: natural gas deposits in the Monterey Shale formation; geothermal energy, abundant rivers and waterways such as the San Joaquin River Delta and hydroelectric dams; the Pacific coastline; 85 million acres of wildlands with 17 million of those used as commercial timberland; mines and mineral resources, vast farming and agricultural lands, and hunting and fishing.

But California politicians and appointed agency officials, under pressure from radical environmental organizations and lobbyists, decided to ignore the energy producing natural resources, and instead move to an all-electric grid, and the only approved “renewable energy:” solar and wind energy, or “boutique fuels.”

In August, a poll by the Public Policy Institute of California conflated climate change, drought, wildfires and the oil and gas industry through dextrous questions and weighted demographics.

The pollsters obviously had a desired conclusion, and created the questions and demographics to draw that conclusion using a significantly higher number of polled Democrats, a significantly higher number of high income Californians, and a significantly higher number of polled whites.

The PPIC poll conclusion supports Gov. Newsom’s claims about “windfall profits,” justifying his restrictions of the oil and gas industry under the guise of “climate change.”

Newsom listed oil company profits in a recent email, and then accused refiners like PBF Energy of “making more profits off of Californians than in any other state.”

In 1982, California had 43 operational oil refineries and a population of nearly 25 million; today we have 11 operational oil refineries and a population of nearly 40 million. And these 40 million residents are driving more cars, living in more houses and apartments, working in more commercial buildings, shopping in more stores, and traveling more across the state – all of which takes much more traditional energy.

The Globe has addressed Gov. Newsom’s claim that oil companies “are ripping you off. Their record profits are coming at your expense.” Newsom left out the part where in 2021 he largely killed hydraulic fracturing for natural gas in California as part of his overall plan to end oil extraction… because of Climate Change. He also announced his action to halt issuance of fracking permits by 2024.

And then Newsom claims, “Big oil was making these record profits at a time when Californians were seeing gas price hikes at the pump, despite the fact that the cost of crude oil was down.”

In October, Sen. Shannon Grove (R-Bakersfield) boiled down the actual problem of California’s highest-in-the-nation gas prices and gas taxes in a letter to the governor. The highlights are:

  • California’s isolated markets
  • an inability to access additional fuel that meets California’s stringent standards
  • the most hostile regulatory requirements
  • the most aggressive environmental policies
  • the extraordinary expense of cap and trade
  • the highest tax per gallon of gasoline
  • impossible standards that are not found in any other state in the nation
  • limited supply

Click here to read the full article in the California Globe

California Governor Signs Sweeping Climate Legislation

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a sweeping package of bills Friday to expand California’s reliance on clean energy and reduce carbon emissions, moves he said further establish the state as a global climate leader.

The new laws include proposals aimed at reducing exposure to gas and oil pollution in communities of color, expanding clean energy jobs and accelerating the state’s timeline for getting most of its electricity from renewable energy sources. Newsom signed them following a record-breaking heat wave that forced California to rely more heavily on natural gas for its electricity production.

“We could talk about the way the world should be and protest it,” Newsom said while standing underneath an array of solar panels. “Or we can actually make demonstrable progress.”

State Sen. Lena Gonzalez, a Democrat, was an author of one bill aimed at protecting vulnerable communities from pollution coming from oil and gas production sites. It bans the drilling of any new oil and gas wells with 3,200 feet (975 meters) of homes, schools and other neighborhood sites and requires wells in those zones to enact stricter safety measures. Neighborhood oil drilling is prominent around Los Angeles and oil-rich parts of the Central Valley.

“The reason why we do this, first and foremost, is because some of us are parents,” said Gonzalez, who represents the southern part of Los Angeles County.

Another bill Newsom signed requires California to reach carbon neutrality by 2045, meaning it will remove as much carbon from the atmosphere as what it emits.

The state’s accelerated carbon reduction targets are a “big win for California,” Kassie Siegel, of the Center for Biological Diversity Action Fund, said in a statement.

The oil industry has broadly criticized Newsom’s climate package, saying it will harm an industry that still provides many jobs throughout the state. California is the seventh-largest oil producing state.

Some environmental groups were critical as well, though for different reasons. Food and Water Watch California, a nonprofit aimed at addressing climate and water issues, opposed a bill in the package that creates a permitting system for carbon capture projects. Such efforts rely on technology to remove carbon from the atmosphere to store underground.

Critics of the technology say it’s dangerous, unproven and a means for oil companies to keep emitting.

“Carbon capture is a smokescreen for fossil fuel industry players to protect their bottom lines at the expense of our climate and communities,” Food and Water Watch California Director Chirag G. Bhakta said in a statement.

Newsom, a Democrat, also took the opportunity to swipe at Republican political leaders in Texas. He compared California’s energy production to that of Texas, another major producer, where a winter storm in February 2021 left millions without power.

“And they’re talking to us about keeping our lights on?” Newsom said of Texas.

Click here to read the full article at AP News

Global Warming – Then Versus Now

The perils of climate change were first introduced to the world in 1968.  It was then that the renown Stanford Research Institute (SRI) published its report, called Sources, Abundance, and Fate of Gaseous Atmospheric Polluters, warning everyone that a steady increase in levels of carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere were unnaturally warming the Earth.   

Yet, nine years passed before the now-oft-used term “global warming” appeared in any academic literature and another 20 years went by before Congress heard from the experts that worldwide temperatures were increasing, polar ice caps were melting and sea levels had risen about half a foot since sometime in the 1800’s.  In California, home of the shrillest of the shrill advocacy to curb global-warming – and only after the abysmal failure of the latest environmental fad (“smart growth”) – it took lawmakers nearly half a century to act.

What were environmentalists, lawmakers and other political leaders – the same folks who endlessly tell us that global warming is the greatest existential threat to the planet since the proliferation of nuclear weapons – doing all that time?  

Indeed, the late ‘60’s, early ‘70’s, when the SRI report was first published, represented the most thorough, enlightened environmental thinking ever, said the advocates and pundits.  That’s when the nation, California especially, was worried about urban sprawl, coastal land protection and endangered species preservation. It was then that the most sweeping environmental-protection laws ever were enacted – the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) and, stateside, the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).  The federal Clean Water Act became law in 1972, shortly after California began regulating water.

Also, mindful that increases of carbon-dioxide in the air was bad – and with the vehicle population in California growing like topsy – it was during this period the state began setting auto-emission standards and, by law, it systematically removed lead from gasoline.  Time was clearly running out on the use fossil fuels for transportation and California’s love affair with them was coming to an end.

(Advocates wanted energy reforms as well, but they didn’t come until much later.  Still, solar mandates and those imposing the adoption of renewable sources did finally come to California and will have a direct impact on the state economy.  For example, legislation like Senate Bill 100 – which requires the state to operate on 100 percent renewable energy resources by the year 2045 – will affect business and the state’s competitiveness.  Incidently, debate over the legislation failed to include benchmarks or convincing evidence that following the law was possible.)

Those were all economically wrenching changes the nation was forced to adopt in the name of environmental protection.  Commerce had to adjust to this new regime and here in California, for the most part, it did. There were new costs to businesses and new costs to consumers, but all were eventually absorbed.

Why global warming wasn’t managed at the same time isn’t known.  Surely, the data existed. The needed advocacy was in place and seemed to be accompanied by the necessary political will, even if it was reluctant.  Of course, businesses then as they do now would resist the mitigation called for by global-warming reform if it had too great an impact on the national (and global) economy – its costs would have to be few and reasonable.  And, to its beneficiaries – people and polar bears – the reforms would have to deliver true relief.

Yet, nothing happened.  Is it possible that the players involved weren’t ready to take on something as large and sweeping as global warming?  Was it possible that growth control, oppressive land-use regulation and limiting immigration had to play themselves out first?  Or, did a state like California have to go through an energy crisis (as it did in the late ‘90’s)? Or, did it have to suffer from a sustained drought (as it did in the early part of the current century, after years of watching precious water resources wash out to sea)?  Or, did it have to transform (however unsuccessfully) single-occupancy vehicle trips into rail passage (both light and high-speed)? Or, did environmentalists and their pals in Congress and the state Legislature want all of these cataclysms to occur simultaneously forcing business to choose “death by a thousand cuts” as the optimum way to go?

Whatever the reason, if you’re a true environmentalist not taking up global warming during the ‘70’s was probably an opportunity missed.  For a while back then, it seemed like the environmental zeitgeist was going to prevail forever, no matter what the cost. Now, happily, there is at least greater awareness of environmental extremism and its economic impacts.

If you were concerned about the national and California economies then – and their corresponding growth rates – you must have been somewhat relieved, albeit temporarily, that nothing worse was done.  (Of course, since then subsequent legislation, regulation and general policy-making has thwarted efforts to minimize the environmental mitigation impacts – including those that can be tied to global warming – on business and consumers.)  Could it have been the initial successes the environmental community was having in the early ‘70’s – and their effect on both the national and state economies – put the kybosh on the advancement of global-warming mitigation measures?

Maybe.  Nevertheless, today at least two key questions remain:  If concerns over the impact of global warming on the economy prevailed then, what’s changed?  And, why are we going through all of these (silly) climate-change theatrics now?

Timothy L. Coyle is a consultant specializing in housing issues.

Global Warming: Los Angeles Has Coldest February in 60 Years


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Los Angeles is officially experiencing the coldest February in nearly 60 years, according to the National Weather Service, as the city has endured a series of storms and is bracing for more later this week.

The Los Angeles Times reported Monday evening:

This month is the coldest February in downtown Los Angeles in nearly 60 years, with the average high temperature at 60.6 degrees as of Sunday. That’s a full 8 degrees below the normal average temperature, the National Weather Service said in a news release announcing the record lows.

It hasn’t been this cold since 1962, when the average high temperature for the month in downtown L.A. was 59.8 degrees, the weather service said.

Los Angeles SnowThe state is experiencing even more storms and cold weather, as a new “atmospheric river” — a front of moisture from the Pacific — is expected to dump rain on Northern California through mid-week. According to CBS San Francisco, rainfall totals were expected to reach 6 to 12 inches in the mountains, threatening mudslides in areas affected by last year’s wildfires.

Los Angeles is also expecting more rain, albeit with warmer temperatures than it is currently experiencing, before the end of the month.

Last week saw a rare snowfall within the urban parts of the city, including West Hollywood.

Currently, the state’s snowpack is already at 119% above its April 1 average.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

This article was originally published by Breitbart.com/California

California Burning – How the Greens Turned the Golden State Brown


Thomas FireIn October 2016, in a coordinated act of terrorism that received fleeting attention from the press, environmentalist activists broke into remote flow stations and turned off the valves on pipelines carrying crude oil from Canada into the United States. Working simultaneously in Washington, Montana, Minnesota and North Dakota, the eco-terrorists disrupted pipelines that together transport 2.8 million barrels of oil per day, approximately 15 percent of U.S. consumption. The pretext for this action was to protest the alleged “catastrophe” of global warming.

These are the foot soldiers of environmental extremism. These are the minions whose militancy receives nods and winks from opportunistic politicians and “green” investors who make climate alarmism the currency of their political and commercial success.

More recently, and far more tragic, are the latest round of California wildfires that have consumed nearly a quarter million acres, killed at least 87 people, and caused damages estimated in excess of $10 billion.

Opinions vary regarding how much of this disaster could have been avoided, but nobody disputes that more could have been done. Everyone agrees, for example, that overall, aggressive fire suppression has been a mistake. Most everyone agrees that good prevention measures include forest thinning (especially around power lines), selective logging, controlled burns, and power line upgrades. And everyone agrees that residents in fire prone areas need to create defensible space and fire-harden their homes.

Opinions also vary as to whether or not environmentalists stood in the way of these prevention measures. In a blistering critique published earlier this week on the California-focused Flash Report, investigative journalist Katy Grimes cataloged the negligence resulting from environmentalist overreach.

“For decades,” Grimes notes, “traditional forest management was scientific and successful — that is until ideological, preservationist zealots wormed their way into government and began the overhaul of sound federal forest management through abuse of the Endangered Species Act and the ‘re-wilding, no-use movement.’”

U.S. Representative Tom McClintock, whose Northern California district includes the Yosemite Valley and the Tahoe National Forest, told Grimes that the U.S. Forest Service 40 years ago departed from “well-established and time-tested forest management practices.”

“We replaced these sound management practices with what can only be described as a doctrine of benign neglect,” McClintock explained. “Ponderous, byzantine laws and regulations administered by a growing cadre of ideological zealots in our land management agencies promised to ‘save the environment.’ The advocates of this doctrine have dominated our law, our policies, our courts and our federal agencies ever since.”

Grimes goes on to outline the specific missteps at the federal level that led to America’s forests turning into tinderboxes, starting in the Clinton Administration and made worse, thanks to activist judges, by thwarting reforms attempted by the Bush Administration, and accelerating during the complicit Obama presidency.

All of this lends credence to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s fresh allegations of forest mismanagement. But what really matters is what happens next.

Institutionalized Environmental Extremism

California’s 2018 wildfires have been unusually severe, but they were not historic firsts. This year’s unprecedented level of destruction and deaths are the result of home building in fire prone areas, and not because of wildfires of unprecedented scope. And while the four-year drought that ended in 2016 left a legacy of dead trees and brush, it was forest mismanagement that left those forests overly vulnerable to droughts in the first place.

Based on these facts, smart policy responses would be first to reform forest management regulations to expedite public and privately funded projects to reduce the severity of future wildfires, and second, to streamline the permit process to allow the quick reconstruction of new, fire-hardened homes.

But neither outcome is likely, and the reason should come as no surprise — we are asked to believe that it’s not observable failures in policy and leadership that caused all this destruction and death, it’s “man-made climate change.”

Gov. Jerry Brown is a convenient boogeyman for climate realists, since his climate alarmism is as unrelenting as it is hyperbolic. But Brown is just one of the stars in an out-of-control environmental movement that is institutionalized in California’s legislature, courts, mass media, schools and corporations.

Fighting climate change is the imperative, beyond debate, that justified the Golden State passing laws and regulations such as California Environmental Quality Actthe Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006the Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act of 2008, and numerous others at the state and local level. They make it nearly impossible to build affordable homes, develop energy, or construct reservoirs, aqueducts, desalination plants, nuclear power plants, pipelines, freeways, or any other essential infrastructure that requires so much as a scratch in the ground.

Expect tepid progress on new preventive measures, in a state so mired in regulations and litigation that for every dollar spent paying heavy equipment operators and loggers to do real work, twice that much or more will go to pay consultants, attorneys, and public bureaucrats. Expect “climate change” to be used as a pretext for more “smart growth,” which translates into “stack and pack,” whereby people will be herded out of rural areas through punishing financial disincentives and forced into densely populated urban areas, where they can join the scores of thousands of refugees that California is welcoming from all over the world.

Ruling Class Hypocrisy

Never forget, according to the conventional wisdom as prescribed by California’s elites, if you don’t like it, you are a climate change “denier,” a “xenophobe,” and a “racist.”

California’s elites enjoy their gated communities, while the migrants who cut their grass and clean their floors go home to subsidized accessory dwelling units in the backyards of the so-called middle class whose taxes pay for it all. They are hypocrites.

But it is these elites who are the real deniers.

They pretend that natural disasters are “man-made,” so they can drive up the cost of living and reap the profits when the companies they invest in sell fewer products and services for more money in a rationed, anti-competitive environment.

They pretend this is sustainable; that wind farms and solar batteries can supply adequate power to teeming masses crammed into power-sipping, “smart growth” high rises. But they’re tragically wrong.

Here the militant environmentalists offer a reality check. Cutting through their predictable, authoritarian, psychotically intolerant rants that incorporate every leftist shibboleth imaginable, the “Deep Green Resistance” website offers a remarkably lucid and fact-based debunking of “green technology and renewable energy.” Their solution, is to “create a life-centered resistance movement that will dismantle industrial civilization by any means necessary.”

These deep green militants want to “destroy industrial civilization.” At their core, they are misanthropic nihilists—but at least they’re honest. By contrast, California’s stylish elites are driving humanity in slow motion towards this same dire future, cloaked in denial, veiled coercion, and utopian fantasies.

This is the issue that underlies the California wildfires, what causes them and what to do about them. What is a “sustainable” civilization? One that embraces human settlements, has faith in human ingenuity, and aspires to make all humans prosperous enough to care about the environment, everywhere? Or one that demands Draconian limits on human settlement, with no expectation that innovation can provide solutions we can’t currently imagine, and condemns humans to police-state rationing of everything we produce and consume?

That is the stark choice that underlies the current consensus of California’s elites, backed up by dangerous and growing cadres of fanatical militants.

This article originally appeared on the website American Greatness.

Let’s Avoid a “High Speed Rail” Situation in Space


Photo courtesy Steve Rhodes, flickr

Photo courtesy Steve Rhodes, flickr

Putting aside questions of effectiveness and even validity of the satellite project proposed by Gov. Jerry Brown at his Global Climate Action Summit, we should be concerned that the satellite could emulate the high-speed rail in that the costs will not be covered as promised and that taxpayers will end up holding the bag.

The release from the governor’s office said initial funding “has been provided by Dee and Richard Lawrence and OIF, as well as The Jeremy and Hannelore Grantham Environmental Trust.” The release adds that, “Additional scientific, business and philanthropic partners are expected to join this initiative…”

Then there’s this: “Planet (Labs) will manage the mission operations and collaborate with the State of California and others on funding this groundbreaking effort.”

Clearly, the state–that is the taxpayers–are expected to chip in for the satellite project. More is expected from outside sources such as business and others. But let’s not forget the promise of the high-speed rail: That it would be funded by the state, federal and private interests. Yet, no private money has come forward.

Whether the state should even sponsor such an endeavor is not the issue here. The point to be considered is that given the situation with the rail, it would be best to have that money in the bank before setting off on this project; before the taxpayers are involved to a greater extent than desired.

Will California embark on the satellite project on the hope that money will come from private concerns? As with the high-speed rail, will we see a General Obligation bond to help support it?

Remember, the idea is not for one satellite but multiple satellites. No price tag was associated with the project so we can’t compare its costs to that of the rail project. But, who really knows the high-speed rail cost. It’s forever changing. Is that the future of the California satellite venture?

If, in fact, taxpayer money is involved it should also come from taxpayers beyond California’s borders. The satellite monitoring will be world-wide and at a minimum the United States Climate Alliance made up of 17 states that are involved in the alliance should contribute because they would benefit from any information the satellites collect.

On another level, you do have to hand it to a clever Jerry Brown for turning around the “Governor Moonbeam” moniker once given to him by Chicago Tribune columnist, Mike Royko, when Brown proposed California launch a satellite for a different purpose 40-plus years ago.

While Royko declared the moniker “null, void and deceased” 15 years after appending it to Brown, the governor has come to embrace the nickname. With his latest satellite pronouncement, he turned a mocking handle into a mark of enlightenment. And to do so at the end of his term completes the circle of his time as California’s governor.

But part of Royko’s complaint was the issue of cost and that nagging question of cost still exists. It is currently spoiling Brown’s signature issue, the high-speed rail. If the satellite proposal follows a similar path, it would undercut the now prized Gov. Moonbeam appellation.

This article was originally published by Fox and Hounds Daily

Governor Moonbeam: California to launch its ‘own damn satellite’


SACRAMENTO, CA - OCTOBER 27: California Governor Jerry Brown announces his public employee pension reform plan October 27, 2011 at the State Capitol in Sacramento, California. Gov. Brown proposed 12 major reforms for state and local pension systems that he claims would end abuses and reduce taypayer costs by billions of dollars. (Photo by Max Whittaker/Getty Images)

He’s mostly shed the “Governor Moonbeam” nickname, but Gov. Jerry Brown pointed California toward the stars as he closed out a global climate change summit here Friday.

“We’re going to launch our own satellite — our own damn satellite to figure out where the pollution is and how we’re going to end it,” Brown told an international audience on the final day of the San Francisco gathering.

California will work with San Francisco-based Planet Labs to launch a satellite capable of tracking climate-altering emissions, Brown said. The effort will lean on the expertise of the state’s Air Resources Board, which has taken the forefront in pursuing climate-related innovations.

The governor’s choice of words in making the announcement deliberately echoed his late 2016 challenge to Donald Trump, amid rumors that the incoming administration would undercut NASA’s climate research role.

“If Trump turns off the satellites, California will launch its own damn satellite,” Brown said at the time, after musing on his celestial history: “I remember back in 1978 I proposed a Landsat satellite for California. They called me ‘Governor Moonbeam’ because of that,” he said. …

Click here to read the full article from Politico

California is following Germany’s Failed Climate Goals


Global WarmingGermany was the first major economy to make a big shift in its energy mix toward low carbon sources, but Germany is failing to meet its climate goals of reducing harmful carbon-dioxide emissions even after spending over $580 billion by 2025 to overhaul its energy systems. Germany’s emissions miss should be a “wake-up” call for governments everywhere.

Germany stepped us as a leader on climate change, by phasing out nuclear, and pioneered a system of subsidies for wind and solar that sparked a global boom in manufacturing those technologies.  

Like Germany, California’s renewables are becoming an increasing share in electricity generation, but at a HIGH COST. The emission reduction goals have increased the costs of electricity and transportation fuels and increased the already high cost of living in California and may be very contributory to California having the highest percentage of homelessness and poverty in the nation.

California households are paying about 40 percent more than the national average for electricity according to 2016 data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Californians continue to pay almost $1.00 more per gallon of fuel than the rest of the country due to a) the state sales tax per gallon which are some of the highest in the country; b) refinery reformatting costs per gallon; c) cap and trade program compliance costs per gallon; d) low-carbon fuel standard program compliance costs per gallon; and e) renewable fuels standard program compliance costs per gallon.

California is an “energy island” to its almost 40 million citizens, bordered between the Pacific Ocean and the Sierra Nevada Mountains. The state’s daily need to support its 145 airports (inclusive of 33 military, 10 major, and more than 100 general aviation) is 13 million gallons a day of aviation fuels. In addition, for the 35 million registered vehicles of which 90 percent are NOT EV’s are consuming DAILY: 10 million gallons a day of diesel and 42 million gallons a day of gasoline.  All that “expensive” fuel is a heavy cost to consumers.

Despite higher energy bills, public opinion has remained supportive of the energy transition and the strategy to cut emissions. That support is apt to shift when politicians resolve the debate about how their targets match reality. Either they will have to abandon the goals and live with more pollution than they’ve promised, or they will have to force through painful and expensive measures that further limit emissions.

Germany, like California, is also trying to phase out nuclear reactors. California has already shutdown the 24/7 nuclear generating facility of SCE’s San Onofre (SONGS) which generated 2,200 megawatts of power that closed in 2013, and will be closing PG&E’s Diablo Canyon’s 2,160 megawatts of power in 2024.

Shutting down nuclear plants is leaving California, like Germany, short of 24/7 generation plants that can work on the breezeless and dark days when wind farms and solar plants won’t provide much to the grid—and demand is at its peak. Yet to be determined is the impact on rate payers? Will there be more reliance in California placed on fossil fuels for 24/7 power?

Germany’s economy, like California’s, is dominated by services that require less energy and produce less carbon than places tilted toward industry and manufacturing. Thus, less emissions to micromanage cost effectively reduce. California is a miniscule contributor to the world’s greenhouse gases. Statistically, the World is generating about 46,000 million metric tons of GHG’s, while California has been generating about 429 million metric tons, which is less than one percent of the world’s contributions. Germany’s contributions are about 905 million metric tons, which is about two percent of the world’s contributions.

Germany’s failed climate goals is an ominous wake-up call for California and governments everywhere struggling to reach their own targets. The result is a puzzle for politicians. Enacted legislation to make sure climate targets are hit, including stringent rules governing energy use, and new building codes to make buildings carbon neutral, and utility bill charges that subsidize investment in green energy, are all resulting in higher energy costs to consumers.

ounder of PTS Staffing Solutions, a technical staffing agency headquartered in Irvine.

This article was originally published by Fox and Hounds Daily

California’s Climate Extremism is Costing the Poor and Middle Class Dearly


Global WarmingEnvironmental extremism increasingly dominates California. The state is making a concerted attack on energy companies in the courts; a bill is pending in the Legislature to fine waiters $1,000 — or jail them — if they offer people plastic straws; and UCLA issued a report describing pets as a climate threat. The state has taken upon itself the mission of limiting the flatulence of cows and other farm animals. As the self-described capital of the anti-Trump resistance, California presents itself as the herald of a green, more socially and racially just society. That view has been utterly devastated by a new report from Chapman University, in which coauthors David Friedman and Jennifer Hernandez demonstrate that California’s draconian anti-climate-change regime has exacerbated economic, geographic and racial inequality. And to make things worse, California’s efforts to save the planet have actually done little more than divert greenhouse-gas emissions (GHG) to other states and countries.

Jerry Brown’s return to Sacramento in 2011 brought back to power one of the first American politicians to embrace the “limits of growth.” Brown has long worried about resource depletion (including such debunked notions as “peak oil”), taken a Malthusian approach to population growth, and opposed middle-class suburban development. Like many climate-change activists, he has limitless confidence in the possibility for engineering a green socially just society through “the coercive power of the state,” but little faith that humans can find ways to address the challenge of  climate change. If Brown’s “era of limits” message in the 1970s failed to catch on with the state’s voters, who promptly elected two Republican governors in his wake, he has found in climate change a more effective rallying cry, albeit one that often teeters at the edge of hysteria. Few politicians can outdo Brown for alarmism; recently, he predicted that climate change will cause 3 to 4 billion deaths, leading eventually to human extinction. To save the planet, he openly endorses a campaign to brainwash the masses.

The result: relentless ratcheting-up of climate-change policies. In 2016, the state committed to reduce greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030. In response, the California Air Resource Board (CARB), tasked with making the rules required to achieve the state’s legislated goals, took the opportunity to set policies for an (unlegislated) target of an 80 percent reduction below 1990 levels by 2050.

Brown and his supporters often tout their policies as in line with the 2015 Paris Agreement, note Friedman and Hernandez, but California’s reductions under the agreement require it to make cutbacks double those pledged by Germany and other stalwart climate-committed countries, many of which have actually increased their emissions in recent years, despite their Paris pledges.

Governor Brown has preened in Paris, at the Vatican, in China, in newspapers, and on national television. But few have considered how his policies have worked out in practice. California is unlikely to achieve even its modest 2020 goals; nor is it cutting emissions faster than other states lacking such dramatic legislative mandates. Since 2007, when the Golden State’s “landmark” global-warming legislation was passed, California has accounted for barely 5 percent of the nation’s GHG reductions. The combined total reductions achieved over the past decade by Ohio, Georgia, Pennsylvania and Indiana are about 5 times greater than California’s. Even Texas, that bogeyman of fossil-fuel excess, has been reducing its per-capita emissions more rapidly.

In fact, virtually nothing that California does will have an impact on global climate. California per-capita emissions have always been relatively low, due to the mild climate along the coast, which reduces the need for much energy consumption on heating and cooling. In 2010, the state accounted for less than 1 percent of global GHG emissions; the disproportionately large reductions sought by state activists and bureaucrats would have no discernible effect on global emissions under the Paris Agreement. “If California ceased to exist in 2030,” Friedman and Hernandez note, “global GHG emissions would be still be 99.54 percent of the Paris Agreement total.”

Many of California’s “green” policies may make matters worse. California, for example, does not encourage biomass energy use, though the state’s vast forested areas —some 33 million acres — could provide renewable energy and reduce the excessive emissions from wildfires caused by years of forest mismanagement. Similarly, California greens have been adamant in shutting down nuclear power plants, which continue to reduce emissions in France, and they refuse to count hydro-electricity as renewable energy. As a result, California now imports roughly one-third of its electricity from other states, the highest percentage of any state, up from 25 percent in 2010. This is part of what Hernandez and Friedman show to be California’s increasing propensity to export energy production and GHG emissions, while maintaining the fiction that the state has reduced its total carbon output.

Overall, California tends to send its “dirty work” — whether for making goods or in the form of fossil fuels — elsewhere. Unwanted middle- and working-class people, driven out by the high cost of California’s green policies, leave, taking their carbon footprints to other places, many of which have much higher per-capita emission rates. Net migration to other, less temperate states and countries has been large enough to offset the annual emissions cuts within the state. Similarly, the state’s regulatory policies make it difficult for industrial firms to expand or even to remain in California. Green-signaling firms like Apple produce most of their tangible products abroad, mainly in high-GHG emitting China, while other companies, like Facebook and Google, tend to place energy-intensive data centers in other, higher GHG emission states. The study estimates that GHG emissions just from California’s international imports in 2015, and not even counting imports from the rest of the U.S., amounted to about 35 percent of the state’s total emissions.

California’s green regulators predict that the implementation of ever-stricter rules related to climate will have a “small” impact on the economy. They point to strong economic and job growth in recent years as evidence that strict regulations are no barrier to prosperity. Though the state’s economic growth is slowing, and now approaches the national average, a superficial look at aggregate performance makes a seemingly plausible case for even the most draconian legislation. California, as the headquarters for three of the nation’s five largest companies by market capitalization — Alphabet, Apple and Facebook — has enjoyed healthy GDP growth since 2010. But in past recoveries, the state’s job and income growth was widely distributed by region and economic class; since 2007, growth has been uniquely concentrated in one region — the San Francisco Bay Area, where employment has grown by nearly 17 percent, almost three times that of the rest of the state, with  growth rates tumbling compared with past decades.

Some of these inequities are tied directly to policies associated with climate change. High electricity prices, and the war on carbon emissions generally, have undermined the state’s blue-collar sectors, traditionally concentrated in Los Angeles and the interior counties. These sectors have all lost jobs since 2007. Manufacturing employment, highly sensitive to energy-related and other regulations, has declined by 160,000 jobs since 2007. California has benefited far less from the national industrial resurgence, particularly this past year. Manufacturing jobs—along with those in construction and logistics, also hurt by high energy prices—have long been key to upward mobility for non-college-educated Californians.

As climate-change policies have become more stringent, California has witnessed an unprecedented level of bifurcation between a growing cadre of high-income earners and a vast, rapidly expanding poor population. Meantime, the state’s percentage of middle-income earners— people making between $75,000 and $125,000—has fallen well below the national average. This decline of the middle class even occurs in the Bay Area, notes a recent report from the California Budget and Policy Center, where in 1989 the middle class accounted for 56 percent of all households in Silicon Valley, but by 2013, only 45.7 percent. Lower-income residents accounted for 30.3 percent of Silicon Valley’s households in 1989, and that number grew to 34.8 percent in 2013.

Perhaps the most egregious impact on middle and working-class residents can be seen in housing, where environmental regulations, often tied directly to climate policies, have discouraged construction, particularly in the suburbs and exurbs. The state’s determination to undo the primarily suburban, single-family development model in order to “save the planet” has succeeded both in raising prices well beyond national norms and creating a shortfall of some 3 million homes.

As shown in a recent UC Berkeley study, even if fully realized, the state’s proposals to force denser housing would only reach about 1 percent of its 2030 emissions goals. Brown and his acolytes ignore the often-unpredictable consequences of their actions, insisting that density will reduce carbon emissions while improving affordability and boosting transit use. Yet, as Los Angeles has densified under its last two mayors, transit ridership has continued to drop, in part, notes a another UC Berkeley report, because incentives for real-estate speculation have driven the area’s predominantly poor transit riders further from trains and buses, forcing many to purchase cars.

Undaunted, California plans to impose even stricter regulations, including the mandatory installation of solar panels on new houses, which could raise pricesby roughly $20,000 per home. This is only the latest in a series of actions that undermines the aspirations of people who still seek “the California dream;” since 2007, California homeownership rates have dropped far more than the national average. By 2016, the overall homeownership rate in the state was just under 54 percent, compared with 64 percent in the rest of the country.

The groups most affected by these policies, ironically, are those on whom the ruling progressives rely for electoral majorities. Millennials have seen a more rapid decline in homeownership rates compared with their cohort elsewhere. But the biggest declines have been among historically disadvantaged minorities — Latinos and African-Americans. Latino homeownership rates in California are well below the national average. In 2016, only 31 percent of African-Americans in the Bay Area owned homes, well below the already low rate of 41 percent black homeownership in the rest of nation. Worse yet, the state takes no account of the impact of these policies on poorer Californians. Overall poverty rates in California declined in the decade before 2007, but the state’s poverty numbers have risen during the current boom. Today, 8 million Californians live in poverty, including 2 million children, by far the most of any state. The state’s largest city, Los Angeles, is also now by some measurements America’s poorest big city.

To allay concerns about housing affordability, the state has allocated about $300 million from its cap-and-trade funds for housing, a meager amount given that the cost of building affordable housing in urban areas can exceed $700,000 per unit. These benefits are dwarfed by those that wealthy Californians enjoy for the purchase of electric cars and home solar: Tesla car buyers with average incomes of $320,000 per year got more than $300 million in federal and state subsidies by early 2015 alone. By contrast, in early 2018, state electricity prices were 58 percent higher, and gasoline over 90 cents per gallon higher, than the national average, disproportionately hurting ethnic minorities, the working class, and the poor. Based on cost-of-living estimation tools from the Census Bureau, 28 percent of African-Americans in the state live in poverty, compared with 22 percent nationally. Fully one-third of Latinos, now the state’s largest ethnic group, live in poverty, compared with 21 percent outside the state.

In a normal political environment, such disparities would spark debate, not only among conservatives, but also traditional Democrats. Some, like failed independent candidate and longtime environmentalist Michael Shellenberger, have expressed the view that California’s policies have made it not “the most progressive state” but “the most racist one.” Recently, some 200 veteran civil rights leaders sued CARB, on the basis that state policies are skewed against the poor and minorities. So far, their voices have been largely ignored. The state’s prospective next governor, Gavin Newsom, seems eager to embrace and expand Brown’s policies, and few in the legislature seem likely to challenge them. The Republicans, for now, look incapable of mounting a challenge.

This leaves California on a perilous path toward greater class and racial divides, increasing poverty, and ever-more strenuous regulation. Other ways to reduce greenhouse gases — such as planting trees, more efficient transportation, and making suburbs more sustainable — should be on the table. The Hernandez-Friedman report could be a first step toward addressing these issues, but however it happens, a return to rationality is needed in the Golden State.