San Francisco Politician Wants to Outlaw Gas-Powered Cars

Electric CarSacramento is threatening to outlaw a freedom Californians have enjoyed for more than a century through a bill introduced by Democratic Assemblyman Phil Ting, of San Francisco. If it’s passed and signed, new gasoline-powered cars will become the state’s new undocumented immigrants. Government will refuse to register them.

Should it become law, Assembly Bill 1745 would, beginning Jan. 1, 2040, “prohibit the department from accepting an application for original registration of a motor vehicle unless the vehicle is a zero-emissions vehicle.” Commercial vehicles weighing 10,001 pounds or more when fully loaded are exempt as are vehicles brought in from other states.

While the San Francisco Democrat insists a transition to electric vehicles is necessary to sharply cut greenhouse gas emissions, the argument has more smoke than fire. Speculation that man is overheating his planet due to Industrial Age atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations is far from settled science.

The latest research shows how the science continues to unfold. An academic study released just last week reported that the doomsday, worst-case scenario, the most extreme projection that global warming alarmists commonly cite, isn’t credible. The climate’s reaction to CO2 simply isn’t as intense as they claim. Lead researcher Peter Cox of Exeter University said both the low and high sensitivities had been all but ruled out.

The virtues of “zero-emissions” vehicles are overhyped, as well. There are few bona fide zero-emission vehicles in California or elsewhere. Their batteries aren’t charged by the dynamos of political rhetoric. Unless 100 percent of the state’s electric power is generated by sources that emit no greenhouse gases nor pollutants by 2040 — Sacramento’s goal is 2045 — a sizable portion of zero-emissions vehicles will be charged by electricity generated at power plants whose smokestacks vent the byproducts of fossil fuel combustion. Electric cars don’t have tailpipes, yet most still have a carbon footprint.

Also conveniently missing from the electric vehicle discussion is the environmental damage unleashed by their assembly. Even before their tires hit asphalt, they are belching emissions. Building a Tesla Model S P100D, for example, produces more than 12,000 kilograms of carbon dioxide equivalent, according to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. This includes emissions discharged in the mining and transportation of rare earths needed to produce electric cars’ hulking batteries.

Meanwhile, production emissions from a gasoline-guzzling BMW 750i — 17 mpg city, 25 highway — are only 8,190 kilograms of CO2 equivalent. Building a gasoline-powered subcompact Mitsubishi Mirage emits a mere 4,752 kilograms of CO2 equivalent.

Though the BMW’s use emissions are about twice as high as the Tesla’s, the Mirage’s are less than the electric car. The Mirage is also cleaner over its entire lifecycle, which includes emissions produced when an automobile is scrapped. If the electric-vehicle campaign were more about actually cutting emissions and less about virtue signaling and raw politics, wouldn’t Sacramento be pushing us into subcompacts instead of EVs?

Not that that is an acceptable alternative. A nation of ostensibly free people should not be saddled with a 21st century Trabant, the 20th century “peoples car” of the captive East German population.

Given our rich car culture that delights in cubic-inch displacement, and the hum and roar of combustion, it’s reasonable to believe that most Californians would not be terribly interested in EVs if it weren’t for the interventions of political nags. As Pacific Research Institute fellow Wayne Winegarden says in his upcoming electric vehicle study, without the taxpayer-funded subsidies, “a robust EV market will not develop.”

Winegarden’s research proves his point.

“After Hong Kong eliminated its tax break for EVs in April 2017, registrations of new Tesla electric cars in Hong Kong fell from 2,939 to zero,” he says. “Similarly, after Georgia eliminated its $5,000 EV subsidy in 2015, EV sales fell 89 percent in two months.”

Even with as much as $42 billion in spent and promised federal subsidies, and billions more issued by the states, fewer than 352,000 EVs have been sold in the U.S., according to Winegarden. That’s less than one percent of the entire market.

Despite EVs’ thin popularity, policymakers have determined that those are the cars we have to buy. It’s a policy decision sure to create electric-car dissidents who will resent the day they lost their power to choose. The fact that the law is a wholly unnecessary stunt will only make it hurt more.

Kerry Jackson is a Fellow at the California Center for Reform at the Pacific Research Institute.

This article was originally published by Fox and Hounds Daily

How Gov’t Unions and Crony Capitalists Exploit Global Warming Concerns

Global WarmingIf anyone is looking for evidence that government unions use their immense influence to support the growth of an authoritarian state, look no further than their unequivocal support for global warming “mitigation,” and all attendant agencies and laws to support that goal.

In 2006 California’s union-controlled Legislature passed AB32, the “Global Warming Solutions Act,” a measure that was touted as a trailblazing breakthrough in the dire challenge to avoid catastrophic climate change. The premise behind AB32 is that CO2 is a dangerous pollutant, and that eliminating CO2 emissions is necessary to prevent the planet’s climate from overheating, with all the apocalyptic consequences; rising oceans inundating coastal regions, epic droughts cascading through the world’s fragile forests and killing them, extreme storms, acidic oceans, collapsing agriculture – the end of life as we know it.

Maybe that’s true – and maybe not – but how it’s being managed is a corrupt, misanthropic, epic scam.

If anyone is looking for evidence that government unions and crony capitalists work together – contrary to the conventional wisdom that presents the appearance that they are in conflict – again look no further than their shared support for global warming mitigation, expressed in the legislative mandate to reduce CO2 emissions. AB32 implements this by forcing industrial entities to purchase permits to emit progressively smaller quantities of CO2, via an auction process that is expected to raise $20 billion per year to finance renewable energy investments.

Think about how government unions will benefit from all this money:

  • Transit workers will claim a share because they will be getting cars off the road.
  • Firefighters will claim more fires are because of global warming and demand more funds – when in reality most severe wildfires are the result of decades of forest mismanagement and unwarranted wildfire suppression.
  • Cities will qualify for proceeds when they zone extremely high density housing.
  • Code enforcement officers will declare that the percentage of their jobs oriented towards conservation and energy/water efficiency qualifies them for a share of the proceeds.
  • Teachers will declare that the percentage of their curricula oriented towards climate education qualifies them for a share of the proceeds.
  • More generally, municipalities will collect more property tax as restrictive zoning elevates the cost of housing.

Think about how crony corporations and corrupt financial special interests benefit from this money:

  • Wall Street traders will set up new subsidiaries to traffic in carbon emission auctions and take a cut.
  • “Green” entrepreneurs will manufacture devices calculated to save energy and water – despite the fact that the shortages are contrived.
  • Producers of energy and water will sell at higher prices since competitive development of these resources is restricted.
  • Utilities whose profits are “decoupled” from the quantity of energy and water they deliver will increase revenue and hence their profit margins which are pegged to revenue, without having to increase services.
  • Manufacturers of noncompetitive products with no natural demand – high speed rail is a perfect example – are enriched via hundreds of billions of investment for their supposedly greener and cleaner solutions.
  • More generally, artificial scarcity causes asset bubbles which benefits wealthy investors and pension funds, but impoverishes ordinary workers.

Even if CO2 is a threat to life on earth, there is an alternative that merits discussion:

Instead of investing in “green” energy infrastructure and embedded surveillance systems to micro-manage energy consumption, California should be investing in natural gas and 5th generation nuclear power stations, desalination plants along the coast, liquid natural gas terminals, efficiency upgrades to existing high-voltage transmission lines, run-off harvesting and aquifer storage systems, upgraded aqueducts, comprehensive waste-water treatment and aquifer recharge, offshore drilling for oil and gas, widened roads and freeways, more airport runways, and buses for mass transit. These steps will result in energy, water and transportation costing everyone in California less. This will benefit businesses and consumers, and make California a magnet for investors and entrepreneurs all over the world.

And even if CO2 is a threat to life on earth, vigorous debate on that topic should be encouraged, not outlawed.

If you are an informed skeptic – something the axis of government unions and powerful financial special interests are trying to outlaw – it becomes tiresome to recite the litany of legitimate reasons that debate regarding the actual impact of anthropogenic CO2 is of critical importance. The primacy of solar cycles, the multi-decadal oscillations of ocean currents, the dubious role of water vapor as a positive feedback mechanism, the improbability of positive climate feedback in general, the uncertain role (and diversity) of aerosols, the poorly understood impact of land use changes, the failure of the ice caps to melt on schedule, the failure of climate models to account for an actual cooling of the troposphere, the fact that just the annual fluctuations in natural sources of CO2 emissions eclipse estimated human CO2 emissions by an order of magnitude. And let’s not forget – California only is responsible for 1.7 percent of global anthropogenic CO2 emissions. Does any of this matter to the California Air Resources Board?

Apparently not. Nor does it matter to California’s Legislature, which recently stopped just short of passing Senate Bill 1161, the Orwellian California Climate Science Truth and Accountability Act of 2016. SB1161 would have authorized prosecutors to sue fossil fuel companies, think tanks and others that have “deceived or misled the public on the risks of climate change.”

What California’s legislature ran up against, of course, was the U.S. Constitution. Perhaps they believe time is on their side. After all, even the Scalia court ruled in 2007 that CO2 is pollution, in one of the most frightening inversions of reality in U.S. history. Imagine what a court packed with Clinton appointees will come up with.

The failure to deploy clean fossil fuel solutions in the developing world, much less here in California, condemns billions of humans to further decades of poverty, misery, and unchecked population growth. Cheap energy equals prosperity equals population stabilization. Until a few years ago that hopeful process was inexorable. But in recent years, somewhere on the shores of Africa, cost-effective industrial development ran into global warming’s global mafia and was stopped in its tracks.

The consolidation of power inherent in government suppression of energy development and micromanagement of energy consumption is not only a recipe for a corporate union police state in America. It is a recipe for systemic oppression of emerging societies across the world. At the very least, the debate must continue.

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Ed Ring is the president of the California Policy Center.