Prop 23 Makes TIME Top 10 List

Katy Grimes: Being listed in the TIME Magazine Top 10 Of Everything has a certain prestige to it – even if they are celebrating the failure of a an important ballot initiative in the last election.

In the “Top 10 Green Stories” catefory TIME wrote, “Prop 23 would have all but repealed the climate-change law, and set back California’s burgeoning clean tech sector. But in California, the greens fought back — with green. Behind a multimillion dollar advertising campaign — funded by contributions from celebrities, environmental groups and clean tech backers — Prop 23 was resoundingly defeated, leaving California free to develop its carbon cap system.”

Northern California Republican Assemblyman Dan Logue, the measure’s author however, sees making the list as a bonus. “Even with the failure of Prop 23, Prop 26 passed,” said Logue. “And, we forced the greens to take a $30 million hit!”

Logue atttributes the passage of Prop 26, which now requires a two-thirds supermajority vote in the state Legislature to pass fees, levies, taxes and charges, that under the state’s previous rules could be enacted by a simple majority vote, to the green lobby focusing primarily on his Prop 23.

In another of the “Top 10 Green Stories”  about California’s cap-and trade TIME wrote, Cap-and-trade may be dead nationwide, but the defeat of Proposition 23 removed perhaps the last obstacle in the way of California developing its own carbon-cutting program.

The article notes “Europe’s own struggles with a cap-and-trade system,” and then tries to paint a picture of California being the first green innovator, with the rest of the nation soon to follow.

What a fundamental disconnect… California is hardly the leader of the green movement, which has already been done in European countries with disastrous results.

From The Heritage Foundation to the New York Times, acknowledgment of European failures at cap-and trade have been chronicled. “And despite lofty rhetoric from many European nations about setting even more stringent future standards, we also see signs of fracturing in their cap-and-trade coalition. From German automakers to Italian steelmakers to nations that still rely on coal for a substantial percentage of electric generation, discussions about exclusions and delays and handouts are now very much a part of the debate in every European Union meeting on climate. The Russian cutoff of natural gas to Europe was also a reminder of the geopolitical risks of discouraging domestic coal under cap and trade,” The Heritage Foundation’s Ben Lieberman told the U.S. Senate in 2009.

The New York Times wrote about the European Union’s ecological goal, “But that plan unleashed a lobbying free-for-all that led politicians to dole out favors to various industries, undermining the environmental goals. Four years later, it is becoming clear that system has so far produced little noticeable benefit to the climate — but generated a multibillion-dollar windfall for some of the Continent’s biggest polluters.”

Writers Jad Mouawad and Paul Geitner wrote in the 2008 NYT story, “Much of the cost of the European system is being paid by the public in the price of goods and services, including higher electricity bills, but whether the money is doing any good is an open question. The amount of carbon dioxide emitted by plants and factories participating in the system has not fallen. Their emissions rose 0.4 percent in 2006 and another 0.7 percent in 2007.”

The TIME story sounds as if it could have been written by members of California’s own Air Resources Board, living in a world of denial and conflict of interest: “But the history of environmental change in the U.S. is one of the Golden State moving first, and the rest of the country reluctantly following. Maybe that will be the case on climate as well.”

Lieberman summed up the problem best: “Innovation is what we really want. And we know from long experience that free economies innovate better than centrally planned ones. But cap and trade introduces a significant element of central planning and thus stifles innovation.”

DEC. 10, 2010

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