arnold schwarzenegger

Post image for Federal Judge Blocks Enforcement of California Low Carbon Fuel Standard

Last week, Judge Lawrence O’Neill of the U.S. District Court in Fresno issued a preliminary injunction blocking enforcement of California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS), a regulation requiring a 10% reduction in the carbon content of motor fuels sold in the state by 2020. O’Neill concluded that the LCFS violates the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution because it discriminates against out-of-state economic interests and attempts to control conduct outside the state’s jurisdiction. [click to continue…]

Post image for Blame China for Solyndra’s Downfall?

Tomorrow, the House Energy and Commerce Committee will hold its second hearing on Solyndra, the manufacturer of innovative non-silicon-based solar panels that borrowed $527 million only to file for bankruptcy, shutter its brand new Freemont, Calif. factory, and lay off 1,100 employees on September 6. Expect Committee Democrats to blame China and the allegedly unforeseen fall in the price of conventional silicon-based solar panels for the debacle.

That’s the line the Department of Energy’s (DOE) witness, Jonathan Silver, took at the Committee’s first (September 14) Solyndra hearing, noting China’s provision of more than $30 billion in subsidized financing to its solar manufacturers, which rapidly dropped silicon prices, “taking Solyndra, and many industry analysts, by surprise.” DOE’s blog, Energy.Gov, had already adopted this explanation on August 31, the day Solyndra announced it would file for bankruptcy.

Similarly, Solyndra’s August 31 announcement coyly cited the “resources of larger foreign [i.e. Chinese] manufacturers” and a “global oversupply of [mainly Chinese] solar panels” as factors foiling the company’s business plan. Solyndra’s ex-employees have applied to the Department of Labor (DOL) for aid under the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program, claiming that China put them out of work. If DOL approves the application, Solyndra’s former workers will receive allowances for job retraining, job searching, and health care for up to 130 weeks, or about $13,000 per employee. Blogger Scott Linicom decries such double dipping:

So to recap: massive government subsidies created 1,100 “green jobs” that never would’ve existed but for those massive government subsidies.  And when those fake jobs disappeared because the subsidized employer-company inevitably couldn’t compete in the market, the dislocated workers blamed China (instead of what’s easily one of the worst business plans ever drafted) in order to receive . . . wait for it . . . more government subsidies. Behold, the Circle of Government Life.

Whether it’s Solyndra execs and DOE officials trying to save face, “progressives” defending the honor of green industrial policy, or former employees looking for more taxpayer freebies, they all would have us believe that Solyndra’s $535 million loan guarantee was a good bet at the time it was made. They need a scapegoat for Solyndra’s crash, so they blame China. Indeed, some (e.g. Grist) claim Solyndra’s collapse shows that the U.S. government isn’t doing enough to help our “clean tech” companies “compete.” Balderdash.     [click to continue…]

Post image for Cap-and-Trade Setback In California

California Superior Court judge Ernest Goldsmith ruled on Friday that the state’s Air Resources Board (ARB) must halt “any futher rulemaking and implementation of cap-and-trade” until the agency examines alternatives policies to meet the greenhouse gas-reduction targets established by Assembly Bill 32, the Global Warming Solutions Act. ARB must also, pursuant to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), complete a review of the environmental impacts of its preferred regulatory strategy before adopting it.

Note: The ruling does not challenge AB 32 itself, and petitioners in the case are greenies who think ARB’s plan to curb greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions doesn’t go far enough. Nonetheless, this is a setback to California politicians and cap-and-taxers throughout the land. ARB has 15 months to provide the requisite analyses. ARB says it will appeal the decision. Rots of ruck! [click to continue…]

Post image for California Judge Halts Implementation of Climate Change Policies

Via the Los Angeles Times.

Ironically, the cap-and-trade program has been temporarily halted due to a lawsuit brought forth by other environmental groups, concerned that the CARB did not sufficiently consider alternatives to a C&T program such as a direct carbon tax:

The groups contend that a cap-and-trade program would allow refineries, power plants and other big facilities in poor neighborhoods to avoid cutting emissions of both greenhouse gases and traditional air pollutants.

“This decision is good for low-income communities like Wilmington, Carson and Richmond,” said Bill Gallegos, executive director of Communities for a Better Environment. “It means that oil refineries, which emit enormous amounts of greenhouse gases and contribute to big health problems, cannot simply keep polluting by purchasing pollution credits, or doing out of state projects.”

This logic is odd, as even under a cap-and-trade program, oil refineries won’t simply disappear. It’s possible that they might be required to reduce their own pollution rather than buying permits, but this speaks mainly to the design of the cap-and-trade program. A small carbon tax would likely have the same effect, and if the design of the cap-and-trade program is any hint, it would be difficult to pass a significant carbon tax.

However, given that the program involves distributing initial permits to many companies for free (which, according to Wikipedia, will cover 90% of their emissions), a pure carbon tax would involve less corporatism.

Do recall the CARB press release touting the economic benefits of this program:

The economic analysis compares the recommendations in the draft Scoping Plan to doing nothing and shows that implementing the recommendations will result in:

  • Increased economic production of $27 billion
  • Increased overall gross state product of $4 billion
  • Increased overall personal income by $14 billion
  • Increased per capita income of $200
  • Increased jobs by more than 100,000

and subsequent commentary offered by peer review (many of whom support the program, none of whom buy into the free-lunch aspect):

Professor Robert Stavins, the Director of Harvard’s Environmental Economics Program:

I have come to the inescapable conclusion that the economic analysis is terribly deficient in critical ways and should not be used by the State government or the public for the purpose of assessing the likely costs of CARB’s plans. I say this with some sadness, because I was hopeful that CARB would produce sensible policy proposals analyzed with sound scientific and economic analysis.


5.       New Jersey Governor Chris Christie
Christie’s skepticism of global warming alarmism is great. What’s not so great is his continued participation in a regional cap-and-trade energy rationing scheme. For whatever reason, the climate skeptic sounding governor has yet to pull his state out of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, the aforementioned energy tax.

4.       Florida Governor Charlie Crist (lame duck)
In 2007, Crist signed a series of environmentalist executive orders, which, thankfully, never came to fruition because they were spurned by the State Legislature. Crist earned his spot on this list for his invertebrate take on offshore drilling. When he campaigned for Governor, he opposed offshore drilling; when gas prices spiked in the summer of 2008, he supported drilling; and after the Gulf oil spill this past summer, he reverted back to opposing the practice.

3.       California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (lame-duck)
As I’ve explained here, here, and here, the Governator’s environmentalist pandering is empty blathering. For all the talk about California going green, the fact of the matter is that California’s environmentalist energy policies have been ineffectual at achieving anything other than higher energy prices. Rather than environmentalist accomplishments, Schwarzenegger’s only lasting legacy will be the almost-unlimited power he has bequeathed to his successor, Governor-elect Jerry “Moonbeam” Brown. Starting in 2011, the law accords the Governor amorphous, yet absolute, authority to mitigate climate change.

2.       New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson (lame duck)
Using authority derived from 1978 state law, New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson (D) last month imposed a cap-and-trade energy rationing scheme. The lame-duck Governor enacted the energy-rationing scheme administratively on November 2, the same day that voters indicated their displeasure with expensive energy climate policies by electing Susana Martinez (R) to succeed Richardson. She had campaigned against cap-and-trade. To be sure, Richardson’s energy policy is largely toothless; nonetheless, the executive power grab is disconcerting.

1.       Colorado Governor Bill Ritter (lame duck)
It will take a generation for Coloradans to undo the harm inflicted by the Governor Bill Ritter’s much-ballyhooed “New Energy Economy.” At Ritter’s behest: the General Assembly changed the mission of state utilities from providing “least cost” electricity, to fighting climate change; the Public Utilities Commission allowed the nation’s first carbon tax; and Department of Public Health and Environment exaggerated the threat of federal air quality regulations in order to justify legislation that picks winners and losers in the electricity industry.