NY Times blames climate change for NorCal inferno

Powerful, hot and dry winds like those that have fanned the deadly wildfires now raging in California are a common occurrence in the state, a result of regional atmospheric patterns that develop in the fall.

The impact of climate change on the winds is uncertain, although some scientists think that global warming may at least be making the winds drier. “That is a pretty key parameter for fire risk,” said Alex Hall, a climate researcher at the University of California, Los Angeles.

The winds, known as Diablo winds in Northern California and Santa Ana winds further south, have their origin in the high desert of the Great Basin of Nevada and parts of Utah. High-pressure air that builds over that region flows toward lower-pressure air over California and the coast.

Along the way the air descends to lower elevations, which causes it to compress and become hotter and drier. The air picks up speed as it descends and funnels through canyons or across peaks that are lower than their neighbors. …

Click here to read the full article from the NY Times

California Cities Sue Oil Companies over Climate Change

Global WarmingCity attorneys in San Francisco and Oakland, California, sued five oil companies in two coordinated lawsuits on Tuesday, arguing that the courts should hold these companies responsible for climate change, and force them to financially compensate the cities for harm the plaintiffs claim those companies are causing to the planet’s environment.

The two cities are suing five of the top petroleum companies from around the world: BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Exxon Mobile, and Royal Dutch Shell. These local municipalities are suing them under California law for being a public nuisance.

The lawsuits use virtually identical language, like accusing the oil companies with language such as, “For decades, Defendants have known that their fossil fuels pose risks of ‘severe’ and ‘catastrophic’ impacts on the global climate through the works and warnings of their own scientists or through their trade association.”

The cities’ complaints impugn the worst possible motives to the oil companies, comparing their actions to a sustained “propaganda campaign to deceive the public” to encourage “fuel consumption at levels that (as Defendants knew) [were] certain to severely harm the public.”

The lawsuits are demanding money from the companies on a scale to offset all of the effects of climate change in those cities. While the lawsuit does not provide specific amounts, the plaintiffs could advance theories that would claim that those numbers are in the billions of dollars.

By bringing these claims in the county courts in San Francisco and Alameda, the cities’ attorneys are setting them on a legal course where the justices of the California Supreme Court—a reliably liberal court—would ultimately decide the financial liability of the oil companies.

One immediate step the oil companies could take is to remove these lawsuits to federal court. They could invoke a federal district court’s “diversity jurisdiction” under 28 U.S.C. § 1332 because the plaintiffs are from different states or nations than all of the defendants and the amount being sued for exceeds $75,000.

Such a move would take any appeals to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit where critics would fear the chances of a leftwing outcome, but would also preserve the option that the final word on this case would ultimately come from the U.S. Supreme Court instead of the California Supreme Court.

The first lawsuit is The People of the State of California ex rel. Herrera v. BP, No. CGC-17-561370 in the Superior Court of the County of San Francisco.

The second lawsuit is The People of the State of California ex rel. Oakland City Attorney v. BP, No. RG-17-875889 in the Superior Court of the County of Alameda.

Ken Klukowski is senior legal editor for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @kenklukowski.

This article was originally published by Breitbart.com/California

California Is Headed Into a Very Dark Pit

california-flagAs California still continues thumbing their nose at the brute, non-global-warming believing Donald Trump, we the people may need him now more than ever. After eight years of doing away with 70 years of post World War II deterrence, realpolitik, balancing hostile nations and leading the world, supposedly California voters thought it was more prudent “to lead from behind.” And now the price to restore global deterrence that will protect California is being paid.

These actions, where elections have consequences, now find California in the cross hairs of North Korean nuclear missiles. Global warming, human rights (whether gay rights or religious freedom) and despising Donald Trump/Republicans won’t take precedent when the threat ignored by “strategic patience” takes aim at Los Angeles and San Francisco for nuclear annihilation. Eight years of hand wringing and indecisive rhetoric has produced North Korea, Iranian, Chinese and Russian belligerence. Each of these war-seeking nations will strike California (the heart of the U.S. economy) if and when they are given the chance.

None of these issues are crossing the California Legislature or Gov. Brown’s collective minds at this time. If that’s the case then what is the state of the state? We’re on our way to passing the largest transportation tax in the history of California, according to State Senator John Moorlach, that will do nothing to alleviate the current transportation issues, address concerns about former transportation taxes that were appropriated elsewhere or address Cal Trans union-led inefficiencies, instead of accounted for transparency. Additionally, CalSTRS continues missing investment return rates, and the unfunded liability will drain state, city and county finances in only a few years. Other California pensions aren’t doing much better, and these workers who were promised one thing will more than likely never see there money in the coming decades.

Something will have to give – pensions to public employee unions. The promise was, we (the Democratic controlled state), will promise you hundreds of billions of taxpayer money, if only you keep electing us without ever actually asking how that plays out in the real world of diminished returns, an aging society and an already overtaxed electorate. California is also trillions in debt along with almost a trillion dollars of infrastructure (roads, bridges, dams, canals) work that needs to be done immediately.

Through this maelstrom, Gov. Brown is leading in polls to replace Senator Feinstein if she retires and the California Legislature has solid approval ratings. Yet crime soars in all major California cities after the passage of anti-cop, anti-incarceration propositions (47 and 57) and AB109. Democratic voters, moreover, allow the governor to reign over a “green clergy or green clerisy state,” says Joel Kotkin, to the detriment of the very constituents he claims to help with his anti-carbon, non-negotiable environmental policies.

Now cities such as Hermosa Beach want to be carbon-free without ever asking the economic, long-term, scalable viability of renewable energy to replace coal or gas-fired power plants. With the difficulties imposed by environmental mandates, (which do nothing to offset coal-fired carbon use by countries such as Germany, the U.K., China, India, most of Asia and Africa), the U.S. Census Bureau now reports housing permits and construction have slowed in Los Angeles County. Los Angeles, where I am based, continues to pass higher taxes while flouting federal immigration law. When does the madness stop? Or does it ever, particularly if Prop. 13 is overturned and state revenue would soar. That is an ever-looming possibility to solve budgetary gaps, but California continues voting for Democrats who govern this way.

What California has become, moreover, is a paradox of dysfunctional Republicans and Democrats who aren’t the kind of Democrats our parents grew up under – Pat Brown, FDR, Truman and Kennedy – men who cared about middle class prosperity and jobs, instead of billionaire Tom Steyer’s environmental edicts. Which is ironic, since he made billions off fossil fuels. We also lead the nation in illegal immigration, increasing welfare recipients, decreased incarceration causing skyrocketing crime rates and a overregulated middle class that is fleeing the state. But this is good for Democrats since the arriving poor take their place hoping for generous entitlements, service jobs or some type of government employment that benefits the California Democratic Party. It’s a perfect storm of how California is headed into a very dark pit of titanic proportions.

According to a Social Science Research Council report California has the most un-equitable levels of income, education levels and standards of living between coastal and inland communities. But as Joel Kotkin states: “Our emerging republic of climate” will only exacerbate these problems while tech, entertainment and media companies keep headquarters in California, but the real work is done in Texas, Nevada, North Carolina and other low cost, low tax states. California, however, was once the heart of the American dream, but the Democratic Party and apathetic, longing-for-Reagan-Republicans have killed that dream until voters change their patterns.

California losing its manufacturing base, aerospace and military industries is analogous to the U.S. losing deterrence; seeking to recapture that lost spirit is among the most dangerous moments when great powers lose their way. California and the U.S. will find this out at their peril whether this year or in the near future – but we will find out.

Allowing the North Koreans to develop an ICBM or signing a nuclear agreement with the world’s largest sponsor of terrorism – Iran – or letting the Chinese militarize the $5 trillion a year South China Sea while backing down to Assad continuing to gas his population are the same as California wholeheartedly believing in climate change/global warming without ever asking the consequences of your actions? California and the U.S. are on a sure-fire path to war – militarily and economically – because what was once normal (deterrence and middle class prosperity) have been replaced by fashionable, progressive policies. The false canard of sloganeering has taken over from that passé, dullard way of studying how economies grow, jobs are created and families being at the epicenter of public policy is no longer in vogue.

I implore California voters to begin asking themselves, their families and friends why they keep voting for the same public officials while expecting different results. Further, President Donald Trump doesn’t need us – and would beat Hillary Clinton again if the election was held today – so the Legislature and Gov. Brown should make nice immediately. One strategically placed nuke flips California’s massive electoral college votes to the next Republican running for president. That’s not made up scenarios, but realpolitik at its scariest. So stop the nonsense and imprudent hatred of the president. Our lives and state may depend upon it, quicker than we want to believe.

While elite, California enclaves decry high crime rates, they voted for the very people who put in place the propositions that treat criminals the way a parent treats a child who takes an extra piece of candy. Deterrence works – for societal criminals, murderous, nation-state tyrants and for California policymakers – but for now, sticking our heads in the sands and hoping for the best while Senator Kevin de Leon and Gov. Brown shove climate change legislation down our economic throats won’t stop North Korea or the downfall of California.

Todd Royal is a geopolitical risk and energy consultant based in Los Angeles.

California’s Next Climate Policy That Won’t Help

Global WarmingYou wouldn’t expect a document titled “Vibrant Communities and Landscapes” to make so many people this angry.

“We are writing to express our concern and dismay over the draft ‘Vibrant Communities’ document,” wrote the Los Angeles County Business Federation (BizFed) on behalf of more than 163 business groups, 325,000 employers and 3 million jobs.

“Radical and without precedent in California public policy,” wrote Michael Lewis, senior VP of the Construction Industry Air Quality Coalition (CIAQC).

These comments were sent to Ken Alex, director of the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research, on Sept. 28. That was the final day of the public comment period for the draft of “Vibrant Communities and Landscapes.” It was only two weeks long.

“We strongly object to this inadequate amount of time to process a piece of policy this large and its potential impacts on the business community across not only L.A. County but the entire state,” wrote BizFed.

“We recommend that the document be scrapped,” wrote Lewis.

The “Vibrant Communities” document has cheerful photos of redwoods and sunflowers on the cover, but inside is a five-page plan to “consider land use in the context of California’s climate change policy,” and to ensure “that all Californians have equitable access to housing, health care, jobs, and opportunity.“

What does that mean, exactly?

According to the CIAQC, it’s “a new set of policies to govern every aspect of land use, transportation and air quality planning in California” written by eight state agencies without adhering to legally required procedures for new regulations.

The plan calls for policies that would allow new developments in previously-developed areas while discouraging “conversion” of open land. It envisions toll lanes (“priced express lanes”), fewer parking spaces (“reduced parking requirements for development”), and incentives for using transit in order to reduce “vehicle miles traveled” (VMT).

Driving, it seems, is the enemy of vibrancy.

But how is the government going to control how much people drive?

The answer can be found in a document released by the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research last January. Thrillingly titled, “Revised Proposal on Updates to the CEQA Guidelines on Evaluating Transportation Impacts in CEQA,” the guidelines replace concerns about a project’s impact on traffic speed with calculations about the number and distance of vehicle trips it would generate. …

Click here to read the full article published by the L.A. Daily News

How Do Voters Really Feel About Climate Change Legislation?

VotedWhen the greenhouse gases extension bill seemed to be stalled in the legislature, Gov. Jerry Brown’s Executive Secretary, Nancy McFadden, said that the administration would get its way on the climate change: Either the bill would pass the legislature or the governor would take his agenda to the ballot. He filed papers for a ballot measure committee as a first step.

Now the bill has jumped a difficult hurdle by passing the Assembly. However, new polling by the California Business Roundtable indicates that the voters might not be so supportive of new regulations if they heard a complete explanation of the law’s effects.

Maybe the climate change debate should go to voters.

The greenhouse gases extension bill, SB 32, which would require greenhouse gas levels to be reduced 40% of 1990 levels by 2030, made it out of the Assembly to face fairly clear sailing in the Senate. Expect it to land on the governor’s desk.

There could be a complication because SB 32 is joined to AB 197, which would give more power to the legislature to oversee the California Air Resources Board. An argument is made that AB 197 could undermine the cap-and-trade law, something the governor wants, especially to help fund his financially struggling bullet train.

The Assembly vote came on a day when the latest cap-and-trade auction results were announced and they continue to show poor results. Hanging over the head of the cap-and-trade law is a question of legitimacy. A lawsuit filed by the California Chamber of Commerce and other business interests presently sits with appellate court judges to determine if the cap-and-trade revenue is a tax. If so, the law requires a two-thirds vote, a standard that was not achieved in the legislature.

Business is particularly concerned with the costs to the economy and to workers if the climate change legislation passes. Tom Scott, president of the small business organization, National Federation of Independent Business/California, said after SB 32 passed the Assembly, “SB 32 will make California even more hostile to small businesses, increasing costs and making them less competitive, discouraging growth and expansion across the state.”

The California Business Roundtable poll showed strong support for the first greenhouse gases (GHG) law. By 66% to 18% the 1200 voters surveyed agreed with the goal of reducing GHG by 2020. The extension to 2030 also received strong support, 63% to 21%.

But when asked if voters knew that state regulations to combat global warming would increase the price of gasoline, electricity and groceries, support collapsed to 47%; opposition rose to 46%.

Opposition skied when the question of lost manufacturing jobs was tested. The potential loss of thousands of middle class jobs garnered only 24% support for the climate change regulations, 66% opposed.

Such arguments would be part of a campaign if the issue comes before voters.

The Business Roundtable poll asked who should enact tougher environmental regulations, the legislators or un-elected state bureaucrats. The legislators prevailed 42% to 28%. But the question seems incomplete. Given the poll results, it probably should have included the voters.

This piece 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.

*   *   *

Ed Ring is the president of the California Policy Center.

State Senate Looks to End Climate Change Debate

With only 232 days left until Barack Obama leaves the White House we discussed three issues on the Brian Sussman Show this morning (KSFO 560–San Fran).
Global Warming1.  Senate bill 1161 by Sens. Hannah-Beth Jackson and Mark Leno would put Sussman in legal jeopardy: “Section 2(b) of the bill declares it the California Legislature’s policy to promote ‘redress for unfair competition practices committed by entities that have deceived, confused, or misled the public on the risks of climate change or financially supported activities that have deceived.”  Sussman has written a book and talks on his show about climate change and facts that show it is not all caused by humans and may not be as bad as Al Gore claims.
2.  Santa Monica College has a professor that “marries” students to the ocean and then has them put their toes in the water to consummate the marriage — the same professor asks trees “permission” before she hugs them.
3.  The students at UCI have had a rash of pro-Palestinian protesters break up speeches and meetings on campus, making the Jewish students fearful.  The chancellor has done nothing and will not suspend or expel the students promoting violence and the end of Free Speech on campus.

Gov. Brown’s Greenhouse-Gas Cuts Scrutinized

As reported by the Associated Press:

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The top lawyer for the California Legislature says Gov. Jerry Brown exceeded his authority when he issued an executive order imposing what he called the most aggressive carbon-emission reductions in North America, aligning California with the European Union’s aggressive climate change standards.

The opinion by Legislative Counsel Diane Boyer-Vine does not curtail Brown’s authority to continue implementing the greenhouse gas reduction plan, but it suggests a lawsuit challenging them could be successful.

The Democratic governor issued the executive order last year setting a new target for cutting carbon emissions to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030. …

Click here to read the full story

Gov. Brown’s War on Climate Only Making Things Worse

Global WarmingIn his quest to improve air quality locally, Gov. Jerry Brown actually risks pushing more greenhouse gasses into skies globally.

Last July, Brown issued an executive order commanding state agencies to develop “an integrated action plan by July 2016 that establishes clear targets to improve freight efficiency, transition to zero-emission technologies, and increase competitiveness of California’s freight system.”

The executive order is widely seen by industry as a prelude to the announcement later this year of more stringent air quality mandates that will pose costly new burdens on the state’s goods movement sector. 

The movement of freight is integral to the state’s economy. As the executive order acknowledged: “California’s complex freight transportation system is responsible for one-third of the State’s economy and jobs, with freight-dependent industries accounting for over $700 billion in revenue and over 5 million jobs in 2013.”

The state’s freight transportation system is also exceedingly complex, as multilayered as it is multifaceted. It involves activities as diverse of home pizza deliveries to the hauling of freshly-harvested produce in the Central Valley to the air cargo operations at LAX and SFO.

Perhaps because of its complexity, state policymakers have tended to fixate on the freight traffic associated with the state’s seaports, especially the three huge container ports at Los Angeles, Long Beach, and Oakland.  (The cover of the California Freight Mobility Plan is tellingly dominated by a full-color photo of a large container ship.)

Maritime officials expect to see the California Air Quality Board impose new regulations that can be met only by investing tens of billions of dollars (according to new study by Moffat & Nichol, a leading infrastructure advisory firm) on new equipment and infrastructure.

The rub is how to finance compliance with these stiffer environmental mandates without driving a substantial volume of business away from California ports.

Terminal operators at ports here and around the world are financially stressed, as a new report from London-based Drewry Shipping Consultants attests. Only weeks ago, one major terminal operator unilaterally cancelled its lease at the Port of Oakland in order to focus its limited financial resources elsewhere.

Inevitably, new business costs get passed on. Saddled with huge new expenses, terminal operators at California ports will be obliged to charge higher fees. But the shipping lines and cargo owners they serve have choices, especially when the great majority of the cargoes passing through the Ports fof Los Angeles and Long Beach ports originate in or are destined for other regions of the U.S.

Even in the absence of costly new California-only air quality mandates, the state’s ports are already at risk of seeing an important share of the transpacific trade diverted to East or Gulf Coast ports through the expanded set of locks at the Panama Canal.

That’s good, you say. Fewer ships calling at California ports should mean cleaner air for California residents.

Perhaps, but there is a perversely ironic trade-off in diverting shipments away from some of the nation’s greenest ports and sending them off to ports on the East and Gulf coasts.

The fact is that diverting containers from the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach would add immeasurably to the CO2emissions from steamships carrying imported goods for American consumers and industry.

Consider that the sailing distance from Shanghai, Asia’s largest container port, to the Port of Los Angeles is about 5,810 nautical miles. A ship sailing from Shanghai to the Port of New York-New Jersey via the Panama Canal would cover approximately 10,600 nautical miles, a journey some 85% longer.

While in U.S. territorial waters, ships are obligated to burn low-sulfur fuels. On the high seas, however, they typically switch to a cheaper but infinitely more noxious bunker fuel, a major source of greenhouse gas emissions.

To compound the irony, cargoes diverted through the Panama Canal cargo often wind up at ports in states where the responsible parties are decidedly more cavalier about climate change.

In Florida, Gov. Rick Scott has reportedly banned state officials from referring to global warming or climate change or rising sea levels. The head of the South Carolina Port Authority recently disputed the need for ships to turn off their massive diesel engines while in port. The Port of New York/New Jersey lately rescinded a regulation calling for cleaner trucks to move containers.

So there you have it: The law of unintended consequences strikes again.

Sacramento-based international trade economist who specializes in the logistics of foreign trade.

Originally published by Fox and Hounds Daily

Wheel of Climate Change

Wheel of Climate Change