by Tom Tanton, E&E Legal Director of Science and Technology Assessment
As appearing in the Investor’s Business Daily
California Gov. Jerry Brown has hailed the Golden State as a model to be followed when United Nations climate negotiators convene in Paris this year.
If my experience working for the California Energy Commission taught me anything, it’s that the California way is more a cautionary tale than a model for the world.
In 2006, California aimed to make a splash when it passed AB 32, its landmark energy law requiring greenhouse gas reductions to 1990 levels by 2020. The centerpieces of the plan are an energy mandate forcing utilities to purchase one-third of their electricity from unreliable renewable sources, and a costly and convoluted carbon cap-and-trade system.
Instead of environmental gains, the plan resulted in lost prosperity for residents in the form of soaring electricity, gasoline prices and joblessness, all among the highest in the nation. Higher prices and stagnant employment have led to, on a cost-of-living basis, California’s poverty rate being much worse than the rest of the country.