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

‘Nothing Historic’ About Paris Climate Deal

Global WarmingThe energy industry is already saying Saturday’s Paris global warming agreement is “unenforceable, underfunded, and non-binding.”

“There is nothing historic about this deal,” said American Energy Alliance President Thomas Pyle in an email to the Daily Caller News Foundation. “The Obama administration clearly doesn’t have the support of Congress or the American people—making the agreement nothing more than a paper tiger. Unfortunately, this won’t stop the president from pursuing a domestic climate agenda that will raise energy prices on American families, but will have no impact on the climate.”

The Obama administration states that the deal will encourage nearly 200 countries to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, slowing global warming. Despite the doubt, President Obama is already celebrating the deal, as shown by this Tweet:

This is huge. Almost every country in the world just signed on to the #parisagreement on climate change — thanks to American leadership.

However, members of Obama’s own cabinet disagree. Secretary of State John Kerry admitted that reducing carbon dioxide emissions in the U.S. and developed world will not help the environment or even slow down global warming at the Paris summit Wednesday.

Kerry previously stated that the talks would not deliver a “treaty” that legally requires countries to cut carbon dioxide emissions. However, European Union previously asserted that the deal will be a legally binding treaty, contradicting Kerry’s direct statements.

The current deal allows countries to set “non-binding” CO2 emissions targets for themselves, but contains no mechanism to enforce the agreement. The Obama administration seems to have gotten a deal that contains no legally-binding measures and is thus not a “treaty.” This weakens legal arguments that the agreement needs the approval of the hostile U.S. Senate, which must ratify all treaties.

Environmental groups were skeptical of the deal during the negotiation process, as it contains only voluntary, not mandatory, CO2 cuts. Many environmental groups blame the failure of the 2009 Copenhagen Accords on the lack of mandatory CO2 cuts.

Originally published by the Daily Caller News Foundation

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Should EPA Prosecute Volkswagen to the Fullest Extent of the Law?

If the EPA chooses not to prosecute Volkswagen for its air toxins to the fullest extent of the law, then other automotive companies will violate the EPA’s standards continuously at the detriment of our health, Environment and morality.

Executive Summary & Background

Volkswagen has recently become a ubiquitous conversation topic across global business following its massive scandal.The company not only programmed its emission system deliberately to pass their car’s failed emission metrics; it had done so by carelessly allowing their cars to produce Nitrogen Oxide (NOx; a fairly harmful biohazard affecting respiratory function) by an astounding 40 times the legal limit, and has gone unseen dating back to 2009. Volkswagen has caused virtually irreparable harm to the automotive industry’s transparency, its reputation and to the trust of its “valued” consumers. The EPA should make an example of Volkswagen and fully prosecute them for their negligible actions in order to fully reconcile with the industry they brought much scorn and suspicion to in addition to bringing justice to the public and environment that were negatively affected. Volkswagen should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the EPA’s authoritative power to such a degree that this punishment serves as precedent that any company willing to pursue such deceptive and illegal measures will be deterred to do so by what VW will have to face. There is an abundance of compelling reasons that support the EPA to embark on these sanctions, penalties and lawsuits to ensure this never occurs again.

Widespread Current Trends of Eco-Awareness from the Public and Consumers Support this Action from the EPA

Often times it is emphasized in our world today that our generation (the youth), the millennial faction, represents and demonstrates the highest degree of activism and awareness in our country to battle and voice our opinions on the wrongdoings that should be brought to justice. We have an overwhelming amount of NGO’s (non-governmental organizations) currently ranging from a general petition-based group such as Change.org to RAN (Rainforest Action Network), which is spearheading the preservation and protection of our rainforests around the world.

With that said, there is a deeply ingrained prevalence of activism efforts in this nation that just so happens to involve a large ecological presence. If Volkswagen genuinely believes that in our current day in age with activism, their efforts won’t cause long-term sustained damage to their sales, reputation, brand-loyalty and stock price, they are surely mistaken because a majority of those aspects of their business have already been significantly impacted in the short-term and can potentially cause long-lasting implications to their bottom line among other negative effects. From a non-economic standpoint, the following intangibles will likely happen or have happened already.

  • Brand Loyalty is not only put into jeopardy, it can also cause deter prospective VW buyers from ever becoming a customer as well as use word of mouth to ensure others don’t buy as well.
  • Reputation not only was temporarily tarnished given that the executive management conspired to deceive the public and the EPA with its quality control of its emissions, but has likely been made to enable a cascading effect for generations to come hearing this story and seeing VW as a deceitful, negligent company.
  • Recall: VW has already publicly stated 500,000 cars will be recalled for further inspection and correction of the programming and emissions. This alone will cost staggering amounts of capital. Luckily, VW set aside $7.4 billion to cover the scandal’s overwhelming amount of financial damage. That number recently was adjusted to 800,000 cars for recall.
  • Stock Price: A substantial amount of investors reneged following the news of VW’s emission/programming scandals, and this will cause their market capitalization to decline greatly (dropped over 20 percent of its value directly after news came out), their stock price to suffer, and the likelihood of future investors to be deterred from investing.

This is a natural fact of life with how our civilization operates. Credibility is an integral part to our society and when that is compromised, it’s generally very difficult to regain that trust from whichever party or group was affected. The following elaborates on the financial aspect in greater detail of what their debacle has led to.

Economic Failures/Consequences

  • Volkswagen recorded its first quarterly net loss ($1.83 billion) for at least 15 years after making great strides to cover the cost of the lawsuits, and vehicle recall expenses following the emission scandal that include nearly 11 million cars worldwide allegedly containing the deceptive software.
  • $16.9 billion dollars according to the Economic Times was “wiped off the market value” of VW. Granted once the CEO, Martin Winterkorn, stepped down, the stock did recover incrementally, showing some positive signs.
  • The EPA has indicated through their reports that Volkswagen faces fines that could total “more than $18 billion.”

With how interconnected our society is, injustices like theirs that are eventually debunked never really end well, and have grave consequences that cause even an established, goliath firm like Volkswagen to derail into a turbulent chaos. This is due to an unrelenting force, which is the rejection, litigation and disgust brought forth by the public and the market that they have successfully sold their products to since 1937. Despite this, companies still continue to engage in deceptive activities to deliberately deceive the EPA time and time again, and if the EPA doesn’t decide to place the highest penalties possible on VW, other companies won’t feel inclined to take them seriously which will create a cascading effect of dissent with the EPA.

What the EPA has done Thus Far in Managing the Emissions Scandal

The EPA has officially issued two notices of violation against Volkswagen adding 10,000 additional affected cars under the Porsche and Audi family, which only escalates the scandal, further denoting that three car companies, all under VW, were affected by the scandal. Not surprisingly, VW officially refuted these claims that the scandal had proliferated to the other two car brands. An assistant administrator of the EPA’s Enforcement and Compliance Assurance department by the name of Cynthia Giles commented, “VW has once again failed its obligation to comply with the law that protects clean air for all Americans.” This is clearly a current issue in our society that companies feel the right or need to cheat the system repeatedly. She goes on to say, “all companies should be playing by the same rules. EPA, with our state, and federal partners, will continue to investigate these serious matters, to secure the benefits of the Clean Air Act, ensure a level playing field for responsible businesses, and to ensure consumers get the environmental performance they expect.” Unfortunately, automotive companies like this that engage in highly illegal and immoral behavior show no remorse or shame in failing to satisfy our expectations and hopes, when we, the public, are the ones purchasing and supporting their company making it financially possible to continue their operations. All the second notice does is add the 10,000 affected vehicles to the massive list, which could spell subsequent fines for VW to pay. Is sending petty fines truly enough to resolve this issues reflecting the entire industry and beyond. It is not just VW that has been caught failing to comply with EPA emission standards and regulations. Regulators and NGOs fear European groups (BMW, GM) are doing the same kind of thing.

The EPA should make a concerted effort to publicly make an example out of VW by restricting their operations, fining them to the fullest extent allowed by law, and try to somehow prohibit them from releasing cars to the entire country if they continue to pollute excessively and defy all standards enacted to prevent health and environmental hazards in the first place. By doing this, the EPA will make a bold statement that they are a federal force not to be trifled with, and that those defectors of these regulations will face intense public scrutiny, enormous financial loss, a tarnished reputation, and endless legal battles that will ensue if companies in this industry follow VW’s example and try to deceive the system put in place. All it is meant to do is to ensure quality for our society and for our environment, and to make sure that we as a civilization are good stewards of the environment and its inhabitants along with genuinely caring about our actions reflecting our values. Unfortunately, this case is just another example of defiance to these basic human values that indicates the EPA must take greater, more drastic actions to mitigate these disasters created by companies like VW.

In contrast, The EPA might be asking too high of standards, making automotive companies feel tempted and even inclined to cheat

In our age, the environmental movement has taken off full steam ahead, leaving the companies that are unable to swiftly adapt to their regulations obsolete and unfit to perform their daily operations. The efficiency, fuel-economy, carbon emissions, and smog tests have been regulated stringently, leaving no room for added pollution in our time of a great anthropogenic crisis of global climate change. Critics of the EPA say the regulations are unrealistic and not generous enough with extending adequate time to these companies being forced to comply with their constantly changing legislation and pollution control mandates.

David Morotta from Forbes magazine argues that the EPA’s general solution to solving issues “must not only solve the problem at hand, but it also must not create a new problem as a result.” He argues that they shouldn’t try to solve the “original” problem, implying an ineffective solution. He goes on to say that “distributed natural systems respond faster, better and smarter than government regulations.” He ends his argument by saying that “further empowering the EPA is a move in the wrong direction. EPA’s nameless and faceless bureaucrats are completely disconnected from any dependence on the people. Delegating regulatory authority to a concept as legislatively vague as sustainability ensures no control can ever be exercised.”

However, what VW did was short-lived, and 6 years after they started this habit of cheating the system, they were eventually caught, exposed, brought to justice and faced numerous business, legal and environmental implications where they are paying a tremendous total amount (exceeding $30 billion) in order to mitigate and reconcile with those affected. These types of scandals in this industry at all costs must come to a screeching halt because if emissions are being mishandled that greatly, who’s to say the other companies aren’t doing this as we speak.

Going the cheating route does cut costs significantly and enhance the company’s main objective; maximize the bottom line. But what about the true external costs of this horrendous event that remain to be seen if they emitted their vehicle’s gases by 40 times the legal amount allowed? Global warming exacerbation, habitat loss due to increases in temperature, health defects, ecosystem contamination and so much more are the result of this irresponsible wasting/pollution. This action that the EPA can make against VW must be done in order to achieve some progress so that the industry doesn’t allow scandals like this to become normative and have the industry and the public become so incredibly used to this that we become desensitized. For the sake of our present and future generations, we cannot allow that to be the case. Forget the politics of it and think about the well-being of us, our children, and future generations, who will have to somehow endure this atrocity.

Citations:

  • “Volkswagen Pushed Into Loss By Emissions Scandal- BBC News.” BBC News. N.P., n.d. Web. 05 Nov. 2015.
  • Marotta, David. “EPA: Green Gone Wild.” Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 13 Jan. Web. 05 Nov. 2015.
  • Nasr, Reem. “Porsche, More Audi Models Pulled into VW Scandal.” CNBC. N.p., 02 Nov. 2015. Web. 05 Nov. 2015.
  • Boston, William. “Volkswagen Emissions Investigation Zeroes In on Two Engineers.” WSJ. N.p., 05 Oct. 2015. Web. 05 Nov. 2015.

Brown marches California climate agenda to Paris

As reported by the San Francisco Chronicle:

When Gov. Jerry Brown lands in Paris next week for international talks on climate, he’ll be preaching the need for action — and not to solve a hypothetical or future problem but something immediate.

The governor has increasingly tied California’s run-ins with nature, by way of drought, wildfire and rising seas, to human-caused warming. And he shares global concerns that havoc will ensue worldwide if the issue is put off any longer.

“I get that the majority in Congress, leaders in the House and Senate, half the governors, want to say, ‘No, there’s nothing going on.’ But that doesn’t change the science,” Brown said in an interview with The Chronicle this week. “If a building is burning down, you don’t sit there and get frustrated, you get a fire hose and put it out.”

Brown is scheduled to join leaders from more than 120 nations at …

Click here to read the full article

Brown Linked Climate Change to CA’s Wildfires. Scientists Disagree.

As reported by the Los Angeles Times:

The ash of the Rocky fire was still hot when Gov. Jerry Brown strode to a bank of television cameras beside a blackened ridge and, flanked by firefighters, delivered a battle cry against climate change.

The wilderness fire was “a real wake-up call” to reduce the carbon pollution “that is in many respects driving all of this,” he said.

“The fires are changing…. The way this fire performed, it’s not the way it usually has been. Going in lots of directions, moving fast, even without hot winds.”

“It’s a new normal,” he said in August. “California is burning.” …

Click here to read the full story

Brown Admits Nobody Knows How To Solve Climate Change

Global WarmingGov. Jerry Brown warned at a recent climate change workshop that trillions of dollars, the transformation of our way of life and a worldwide mobilization on the scale of war will be required to stave off climate change’s “existential threat” to mankind.

Brown also said the problem is so complex that it’s likely no one knows how to solve it.

Emissions Targeted

The governor conveyed his warning at the California Air Resources Board’s Oct. 1 workshop, “California Climate Change Scoping Plan: 2030 Target.”

The 2030 target reduces California’s greenhouse gas emissions to 40 percent below 1990 levels in the next 15 years. Brown also designated a 2050 target: emission reduction to 80 percent below the 1990 level.

The 2030 target is “the most aggressive benchmark enacted by any government in North America to reduce dangerous carbon emissions over the next decade and a half,” said Brown in an April 29 statement.

The governor began his remarks at the workshop with an admission of ignorance on climate change science.

“I come today because this is a topic that is not easy to grasp,” he said. “It’s complicated. The more you dig into controlling air pollution or measuring greenhouse gas emissions or attempting to understand the [climate] models that examine and attempt to predict how world climate patterns will change over time, it definitely is a very complicated science that we mere lay people just get little glimpses of.”

That complexity makes it easy for climate change skeptics to disseminate misinformation, according to Brown.

“It allows people who have bad motives or soft minds to then raise doubts that are not based on science or facts, but are able to be communicated without people reacting with total ridicule,” he said. “And it takes enough knowledge that it’s hard to be in this conversation at any level of depth.

Relying on Climate Scientists

Brown said we should rely on climate change scientists who “have clearly stated that human beings and the industrial activity of our modern lives is affecting climate by building up heat-trapping gases, and that the effects over time will be catastrophic.”

“When and how all of that unfolds is something that cannot be said on a precise date,” he continued. “But we know with a high degree of confidence that we are facing an existential threat to our well being and the well being of the generations that come afterwards.”

Brown acknowledged that the public has thus far been largely indifferent to the climate change issue, ranking it well below crime and jobs among issues they are most concerned about. That indifference or ambivalence may be due to the omnipresence of fossil fuels in the quality of our lives.

“What we are looking at is making a shift in the way life shows up,” Brown said. “We are who we are because of oil, coal and natural gas. Fossil fuels is what makes it. I assume that most of the people here are here because fossil fuels got you here, clothed you, medicated or whatever way you are functioning as a modern person, you are dependent on fossil fuels.

“So when we say we are going to reduce [emissions by] 10 percent, 20 percent, 40 percent, we are setting forth a hugechallenge that is very easy to state. But anybody who has any understanding of what is implied by what is being called for, realizes this cannot be done lightly or without a mobilization globally that we have never seen before outside of time of war.”

Potential Economic Meltdown

Brown, citing a Sept. 29 speech by the Governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney, warned there is a potential for a global economic meltdown when energy companies are forbidden from using up to a third of their fossil fuel resources.

“Once it becomes conventional wisdom, once we get it that climate change is going to be catastrophic and that becomes clear and vast majorities of people at all levels of society agree with that, it may be too late because we’ll be too far down the road,” he said.

“If the oil and gas companies are undermined, the financial system itself can be undermined. We can’t wait until everybody gets it. We have to start now.”

Brown said the state’s current annual output of 460 million tons of carbon dioxide-equivalent emissions must be reduced to 431 million tons by 2020 and down to 260 million tons by 2030.

“To go from 460 where we are to 260, that takes heroic effort, scientific breakthroughs, massive investments, a lot of cooperation and a political understanding that does not exist today,” he said. “So this is not stuff for amateurs. This is quite challenging.”

“It’s a political problem,” Brown continued, “but also it’s a technical problem. And it’s going to require a lot of breakthrough, a lot of research and billions, tens of billions of dollars, invested by many, many different sources.”

It will also require Californians driving a lot less, he said, by living closer to where they work and telecommuting. “Californians drive over 330 billion miles a year – 32 million vehicles of various kinds moving around on almost entirely fossil fuel,” he said. “We’re going to reduce and take fossil fuels out of our lives and out of the economy.

“And we’re going to creep our prosperity and ability to keep inventing and improving the quality of everybody’s life. And not only here, but we’re going to do it all over the world. And we’re going to add a couple billion people besides and probably another billion cars.”

Changing Lifestyles

The governor admitted, “How the hell we do that, probably nobody knows. But the people who have the best understanding and the best capability to do things [are] right here.”

Brown acknowledged that it will be a big challenge convincing people to change their lifestyles. He also admitted that even getting the conversation started is tough:

In my world of politics this is … a dark reality that you just can’t even talk about. Because it’s too obscure, too complicated, it’s not high in the polls, “don’t bother me now.” But if that mood persists … it will be too late then, and there will be a real catastrophe.

People don’t like to think that something horrible could happen. We all like our happy time news in the morning. But you got to see it, and then we have to take steps to make sure it doesn’t happen.

This is about taking the steps to deal with fuels, the investment in biofuels, [energy] efficiency in appliances and buildings, across the whole range of how our modern civilization works, within the limited reach that the Air Resources Board has confidence and the legal authority to do, which is quite a lot. Everything that can be done will be done. California will do what it has to do.

Leading the Way

Brown believes California is setting an example other states and countries will follow.

“People know about California, people are watching what’s going on, and there’s a lot of goodwill to get us to the goal,” he said. “Of course, it’s going to take a lot more than goodwill. It’s going to take billions, trillions of dollars. And it’s going to take commitment all over the world.”

Brown’s pep talk received a standing ovation. After the applause died down, CARB Chairwoman Mary Nichols said, “You can see why I get up raring to go to work every morning.”

Facing Opposition

No one at the workshop questioned whether California’s efforts will do much to prevent the planet’s climate from changing, and whether the cost will be worth it.

But state Sen. Andy Vidak, R-Hanford, issued a statement on Oct. 7 in opposition to Brown signing into law Senate Bill 350, which mandates an increase in renewable energy among other emission reduction actions:

The district I represent is still reeling from the Great Recession and the devastating years-long drought. Too many people in rural and inland communities are impoverished; standing in food lines because they can’t find work to make ends meet.

Senate Bill 350 is a devastating measure that will force already-struggling families deeper into poverty by drastically increasing energy costs that are already some of the highest in the nation.

It’s wrong when parents have to choose between the necessities of keeping the lights on and feeding their children. The governor’s signature on SB350 kicks folks while they are down. It is a selfish gesture designed to fluff up his “legacy” and pander to coastal elites’ “environmental” self-righteousness.”

The impact on most Californians from the state’s climate change regulations has been minimal thus far. The state has been averaging a 1 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions annually. That pace is projected to continue through 2020, and is enough to meet the 2020 reduction goal.

But residents and businesses will be hit harder after that. Emissions will need to be reduced by at least 5.2 percent annually from 2020 to 2030 in order to meet the 2030 target.

“This gives an indication of the challenge of the work that we have ahead of us in the scoping plan to develop an approach, to develop a set of measures that can contribute to and achieve this ambitious greenhouse gas reduction level for 2030,” said ARB Assistant Executive Officer Michael Gibbs.

An analysis of the economic impacts of the climate change regulations will be conducted as a part of the scoping plan. No cost estimates were provided at the workshop, but several officials in addition to Brown said that billions of dollars in increased funding will be required.

“Investment in [energy] efficiency [in buildings] will need to be quadrupled or quintupled from today’s levels in order to reach the scale necessary to meet the 2030 and 2050 goals,” said Patrick Saxton, representing the California Energy Commission. “Clearly this is much more than ratepayers and taxpayers can fund on their own.”

Regional workshops on the scoping plan will be held this fall; the Air Resources Board will receive an update on Nov. 19. The draft plan is scheduled to be released in spring 2016. The final plan is expected to be approved in fall 2016.

Originally published by CalWatchdog.com

GOP Presidential Nominees Fire Back at Brown on Climate Change Challenge

jerry-brownAfter submitting a letter-length question to Republican candidates ahead of their first round of primary-season debates, Gov. Jerry Brown has received some responses.

Heated rhetoric

Pressing ahead with the environmental emphasis characterizing his final term in office, Brown asked the presidential hopefuls to outline their own policies. “Longer fire seasons, extreme weather and severe droughts aren’t on the horizon, they’re […] here to stay,” he wrote, as the Sacramento Bee reported. “Given the challenge and the stakes, my question for you is simple: What are you going to do about it? What is your plan to deal with the threat of climate change?”

Brown’s office told the Bee he submitted his question via the Facebook page of Fox News, which solicited questions from viewers of the debates, which it hosted and televised.

This month, as the San Gabriel Valley Tribute noted, Brown hit out against the field again, using a fresh report on July temperatures to lambaste “Republicans, foot-dragging corporations and other deniers.” Surveying the damage to the fire-stricken Clear Lake area, Brown “repeated his challenge to Republican presidential candidates,” the Los Angeles Times reported, warning that “California is burning” and asking, bluntly, “What the hell are you going to do about it?”

Republican responses

So far, at least three Republican candidates have touched on environmental issues in the wake of Brown’s challenges.

Not all their remarks have been directly responsive, however. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker recently took the opportunity to critique “radical environmental policies that stop things like dams from going in so that water … can be used effectively,”according to the Bee.

But Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and former HP CEO Carly Fiorina, who had challenged Sen. Barbara Boxer’s re-election, both addressed Brown head on, the Bee added. While Cruz dismissed “alarmists” as power-hungry schemers, Fiorina took a more nuanced approach; although she first conceded it “may well be true” that California’s drought was worsened by climate change, she also criticized policymakers for failing to prepare for the kind of droughts the state has had “for millennia.”

Shifting opinions

Republicans on the campaign trail have broadly reflected opinions among constituents nationwide. Even in California, Republicans have demonstrated consistent skepticism toward claims that human activity has fostered dangerous alterations in temperatures and weather. In a new poll conducted by the Public Policy Institute of California, a majority of Golden State Republicans said “they don’t believe that climate change is happening and that they don’t think it will be a serious problem in the future,” as the San Jose Mercury News reported. “They also support expanding fossil fuel production — from increasing offshore oil drilling along California’s coast to expanding fracking.”

Yet the poll evinced some wiggle room on environmental policy issues. Fully 43 percent of California Republican respondents supported stricter in-state climate rules than what the federal government has passed into law. “Californians of all parties said they support increasing tax credits for electric vehicles and solar power,” the Mercury News added.

In a recent nonpartisan poll commissioned by a water policy foundation, Californians seemed to confirm that the drought had become a leading issue of worry across the ideological spectrum. According to the Los Angeles Times, “62 percent of poll subjects said they would be very willing or somewhat willing to pay $4 more a month for water if the funds were used to improve water supply reliability. Such an increase, if applied to the entire state, would generate about a billion dollars, according to poll sponsors.”

Environmentalists divided

Brown’s environmentalist policies haven’t satisfied all critics. His administration’s emphasis on reducing emissions, for instance, has led some to wonder why he hasn’t pushed harder for cheaper electricity rates, which would benefit owners of many zero-emissions vehicles. One objection, recently voiced in the San Diego Daily Transcript, warned that Brown’s policies “will systematically shift profits into a few private hands instead of building, managing and maintaining a solid and reliable electric-charging infrastructure comparable to our utility grid.”

Originally published by CalWatchdog.com

CARTOON: Climate Change Sins

Climate change cartoon

Jeb Bush: Capitalism Can Solve Global Warming, Not Gov’t

http://www.dreamstime.com/-image12155315Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush has a simple message on global warming: capitalism has done more to help the climate than the “progressive model.”

“The United States has actually been one of the places as it relates to carbon emissions where there have been the best gains because of the explosion of American innovation in creating huge increases in natural gas production and consumption that has lowered carbon emissions,” Bush said in an interview with The Daily Signal.

“The capitalist system has actually done more than the command and control progressive model,” Bush said.

Bush has come under fire by environmentalists and left-wing groups for “denying” the “science” behind global warming, but then again, so has every other Republican presidential candidate this election cycle.

In the interview, Bush criticized the “hard-core left” for politicizing the global warming debate to the point where anyone who disagrees with activists is labeled things like anti-science.

“The problem is climate change has been co-opted by the hard-core left and if you don’t march to their beat perfectly then you’re a denier,” Bush said.

As for what Bush thinks about mankind’s contribution to global warming, the former Florida governor acknowledged the climate is changing, but added that it’s not clear what percentage (if any) is being driven by human activity.

“The climate is changing. I don’t think anybody can argue that it’s not. I don’t think anybody truly knows what percentage of this is man-made and which percentage is just the natural evolution of what happens over time on this planet,” Bush said.

“I think we have a responsibility to adapt to what the possibilities are without destroying our economy, without hollowing out our industrial core,” he added. “There are things that we can do that are commonsensical about this.”

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Originally published by the Daily Caller News Foundation