The New York Times’ report that “global emissions of carbon dioxide from fossil-fuel burning jumped by the largest amount on record last year” is one more bat to the face of those dumb enough to argue AB 32 is good policy. It was only good policy if the world copied California, as Arnold predicted. Not gonna happen. Soon it will be obvious geoengineering is the way to go, as the “Freakonomics” authors wrote. In the mean time, California’s economy will be brutalized by higher energy prices that achieved nothing besides letting Schwarzenegger run around the world playing the role of Global Green Giant. That is certainly a small price to pay for our ex-gov’s ego trip, don’t you think?
But at what point will the California media finally start thinking about the contrast between the way the world was expected to react to AB 32 in 2006 and how it’s actually reacted? Maybe never. The Green Tank is enormous, and it needs to be, given all the California journos who are in it.
Let’s go back to what was said about AB 32 five years ago after its passage with a typical 2006 analysis piece on the news pages:
Greenhouse gas plan may waft across U.S.; Backers hope other states follow California lead.
By Chris Bowman. Bee Staff Writer / MAIN NEWS; Pg. A1
If history is any guide, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s pioneering plan to cap industrial greenhouse gases promises to enlist other states and, perhaps, the entire country in the fight to slow global warming.
California repeatedly has pushed the frontiers of emission controls — first to strap catalytic converters on tailpipes, first to mandate zero-polluting cars — only to find itself a trendsetter, bucking predictions of economic doom.
This time, however, the Golden State is making a quantum leap. The mission statement in the Global Warming Solutions Act that sits on Schwarzenegger’s desk is nothing short of revolutionary: “Placing California at the forefront of national and international efforts to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases.”
Other states, even nations, would have to follow California’s lead to make any measurable difference.
How’s that working out? Not so well. When will anyone point this out on the front page of the Sac Bee? Bueller? Bueller? Bueller?
Now let’s go back five years and look at an AB 32 analysis on the opinon pages. This was by Curtis Moore in the Los Angeles Times:
Besides AB 32, California legislators have sent five other environmental bills to the governor to sign this month. One requires that electricity production create no more pollution than that associated with one of the most advanced generating technologies. Two others boost Schwarzenegger’s “million solar roofs” plan and fuel cells — which, when using hydrogen, produce only pure water and electricity, with zero pollution. Yet another law would impose a $30 fee for each container at the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles — possibly the largest aggregate source of global warming pollution west of the Mississippi — to help pay for cleansing the air. And finally, the Legislature also passed a bill requiring that by 2020, at least 50% of new passenger cars and light-duty trucks be clean, alternative-fuel vehicles, such as hydrogen, plug-in hybrids and flex-fuel vehicles.
It’s not certain that the governor will sign all of these initiatives into law, but it would be a shame if he didn’t. Taken together, they represent the most comprehensive and rigorous attack on air pollution adopted in a generation, one that is certain to be adopted throughout the world — and one that just might save it.
Certain to be adopted, huh? How’s that working out? Not so well. When will anyone point this out on the opinion pages of the L.A. Times? On any page of the L.A. Times? Bueller? Bueller? Bueller?
Now that these confident predictions have proven wrong, isn’t that, yunno, news?
Remember, I’m not writing this as a global-warming skeptic. I’m writing this as a skeptic of how California is responding to the issue. And I’m also writing this as someone who is genuinely baffled at how this crucial part of AB 32 is the subject of ZERO follow-up print reporting. None.
Because an awful lot of journos who probably have stacks of plaques either have to be in the green tank or have suffered amnesia not to point out the key premise of AB 32 didn’t come true, and, as a result, AB 32 is dumb policy.