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California has collected enormous funding through various taxes to promote stringent greenhouse gas restrictions for more than a decade. A new report shows that the costs of California’s effort to limit carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions have directly impacted working families with less than stellar results.

In 2007, California passed its solution for global warming act (AB32) and became the first and only state to cap CO2 emissions. AB32 mandated cutting CO2 emissions back to 1990 levels by 2020.

Following Gov Schwarzenegger’s lead, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill last year requiring the state to cut emissions 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030. You might ask, “Is this a good plan?” and, “How have all of the billions of dollars collected benefited California taxpayers?”

From 2007 to 2015, California managed to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 9 percent. A new report from the Center for Demographics and Policy at Chapman University in Orange, California makes some interesting comparisons;

- On a per capita basis, 41 states outperformed California on CO2 cuts over those same years.

- The study also notes that because the state is considered to be inhospitable to manufacturing and energy production, it now imports more energy than any other state in the nation.

- California imports 66 percent of its crude oil, 91 percent of its natural gas, and 88 percent of the ethanol it uses from other states and countries. California alone accounts for almost a quarter of U.S. oil imports from the Persian Gulf and from Saudi Arabia.

-Meanwhile, in 2015, it imported about $408 billion in products from other nations, or 16 percent of the state’s Gross Domestic Product. In other words, California is exporting its energy production and manufacturing base to other, more carbon-intensive states and countries, while mandating additional CO2 reductions.

Even if California were able to meet its ambitious CO2 cuts, it would have no impact on global temperatures — assuming the climate scientists are right in their predictions — because the state represents a tiny portion of global CO2 emissions.

So what has Californian’s Solution for Global Warming actually achieved? As the report notes, these environmentalist policies have “significantly distorted the California economy.”

Outside Silicon Valley, this unilateral effort to cut CO2 emissions is hampering the state’s economy, eliminating opportunities for working families and increasing poverty. Housing and energy prices are climbing faster than the national average. Wages for Latinos, African Americans and the less educated have stagnated.

“In summary,” the report says, “the imposition by the state’s Democratic Party leaders of highly regressive climate schemes have engendered disparate financial hardships on middle and lower income workers and minority communities, while providing direct economic subsidies to wealthier Californians in environmentalist strongholds like Marin County.”

The report concludes that, the state’s climate policies must respect the social equity principles of the Paris Agreement, comply with civil rights and equal protection laws, and build a sustainable political consensus that includes feasible solutions to the epidemic of poverty and lack of housing in California.

At the same time, the state must stop pretending that massively costly programs with relatively small, if not minute greenhouse gas reduction benefits like high-speed rail and urban densification are praiseworthy and effective means for addressing climate change while the state exports people, jobs, and the goods and services it consumes to higher-emission locations.

Would it be overly optimistic to anticipate that Napa County could include some of the conclusion of this report in redrafting of their much delayed Climate Action Plan?

Jack Gray, Director

Napa County Taxpayers Association

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