California’s Continuing Self-Inflicted Economic Suicide

Matt Kibbe of FreedomWorks writes in the Wall Street Journal about California’s attempt to limit greenhouse gas. Assuming this bill is not repealed, this will accelerate California’s economic decline. But as Kibbe warns, this gives California politicians an added incentive to impose bad policy on the entire nation:

“Assembly Bill 32, the “California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006,” makes California the first state in the nation to broadly limit CO2 emissions. Cosponsored by radical groups like Environmental Defense and the Natural Resources Defense Council, AB 32 establishes an overall cap on the production of CO2 and a mandatory new reporting system to track emission levels across the state. This law will force California to ramp CO2 production back to 1990 levels by the year 2020. …

Less allowable carbon means less energy. Less available energy, coupled with higher expected demand, means higher energy prices. Higher energy prices mean a booming market in “carbon offsets” for wealthy movie stars and their patrons and extremely unaffordable energy for the rest of working, commuting California. …even if one agrees that global warming is occurring and that human activities are the cause, California’s unilateral restrictions are counterproductive and will simply force businesses to leave the state. …

The first real casualty of all the hype surrounding global warming seems to be simple economic common sense. Just a few years ago, in 1997, a Senate resolution sharply criticized proposed CO2 limits under the Kyoto Protocol, calling on then-President Clinton not to sign it or any other international climate change agreement that “. . . would result in serious harm to the economy of the United States.” The Kyoto Protocol would have compelled the U.S. to reduce carbon dioxide emissions to 7% below 1990 levels by the years 2008 to 2012. Adopting Kyoto-style restrictions would have cost the economy 4.9 million jobs, something Sen. Boxer and 96 of her Senate colleagues apparently found morally, or at least politically, unacceptable.

Unfortunately, with AB 32, California has adopted its own mini Kyoto, so Sen. Boxer, Rep. Pelosi and Rep. Waxman are “all in” at a high-stakes game of tax, cap and trade. This push from the California delegation stands American federalism on its head. Competition and innovation among the states are the driving force behind federalism, but Sen. Boxer and Speaker Pelosi hope to take an extravagantly expensive idea from their state and force it on the rest of us, even as similarly draconian carbon restrictions are failing miserably in Europe.

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