Sac Bee Flip Flops on AB 32

Katy Grimes: I always like to get right to motive during a heated issue or debate. Over the weekend, the Bee wrote an editorial stating a rather new position on California’s global warming law, AB 32.

After working tirelessly to help defeat Proposition 23 during the last election, the Bee made their collective editorial position quite clear. “This editorial board was an early supporter of the Global Warming Solutions Act, a conditional supporter of cap and trade and a fierce opponent of Proposition 23,” wrote the Bee. Despite Prop 23’s goal – to suspend California’s global warming laws only until the economy improves and unemployment in the state drops below 5.5 percent – the Bee hammered at the proposition.

In less of a flip flop, and more of just a flip, they seem to be taking a different position.

Last week the California Air Resources Board approved aggressive cap-and-trade regulations despite Economists’ warnings against it. The Bee even warned in the Sunday op ed that the new regulations “carry serious risks in a go-it-alone mode. If not closely monitored and modified over time, the program could end up repeating the mistakes of other market trading experiments, such as Europe’s initial foray into cap and trade.”

Under California’s cap and trade regulations, the state would set much lower greenhouse gas emission regulations on hundreds of the state’s major industries, attempting to reduce those emissions levels to 1990 standards.

CARB was advised not to adopt the allowances and offsets, which businesses will eventually have to purchase.

With all of this information available in the news for the past two years during the campaigns, one would assume that the editorial board at the Bee had thought once or twice about how tough and unrealistic the new greenhouse gas emission standards would be.

You see, the Sacramento Bee is not just putting out a newspaper, they print it.

Ask any commercial printer just how difficult it is to meet the local and statewide air quality laws. Commercial printers have been dealing with air quality offsets for years, as well as heavy-handed air quality inspections, fees, and nasty, expensive penalties. And just as CARB is now talking about offering emission offsets and credits, the largest corporations have always bought up the air quality offsets, and then sold the overs to smaller companies. If the goal was really clean air, offsets would never be on the table.

The Bee has to have already been faced with strict air quality regulations because of the volatile organic compounds emitted during the printing process. VOCs are the primary pollutants emitted by commercial printing plants during the printing processes, including the developers and photographic processing solutions (if still used), inks, cleaning solutions, and ovens used in the actual printing process, as well as glues and adhesives used in the bindery and finishing process.

The black and white newspaper printing does not involve heat set inks, (VOCs are created using the heat set process o some inks), but all other printing does, including inserts, and multi-color printing.

It could get much more expensive for the Bee if cap-and-trade is implemented in California.

Maybe the editorial board finally realized that this is economic suicide for California businesses (and the Bee) – no single state can handle climate change control alone. And even if the earth is warming, there is nothing that California, or even the United States can do to stop it with China and India determined to join industrialized nations in the free-market.

De-industrialization will be the death of the state, and is in fact, driving manufacturing to move to other states. And then how will the Bee, and all other newspapers print their pages? Outsourcing printing to Arizona, Texas or Mexico is one option, and what California printers are seeing more and more.

While the Bee was an early supporter of the Global Warming Solutions Act, they now would like to see CARB slow down implementation of AB 32. Why didn’t they just say that six months ago?

The Bee is running a business as well, and as with all other commercial printers, has been hammered under California’s existing global warming laws, regulations and punitive policies. During the election, the personal ideology of the editorial board got in the way of reason and logic, and running a business.

DEC. 20, 2010

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  1. Dean Smith
    Dean Smith 20 December, 2010, 12:29

    Years ago, the academic question of the century was: Which Came First, The Chicken Or The Egg?

    Today’s academic question will be: Which Died First, The Parasite Or The Host?

    Reply this comment
  2. John Seiler
    John Seiler 21 December, 2010, 00:14

    As a vital supporter of AB 23 and opponent of Prop. 23, the Bee should shut down all printing and go totally online. Otherwise, the ice caps will melt, the oceans will boil, and we’ll all die. Hurry!

    Reply this comment
  3. juanitocabrone
    juanitocabrone 21 December, 2010, 12:22

    Hypocrisy, thy name is McClatchy

    Reply this comment
  4. Jeffrey J Howland
    Jeffrey J Howland 21 December, 2010, 12:44

    As bad as it all may be in California….I love California and wish I could move there. I left in “77” and now live in the most embarrassing state in the country…Massachusetts !

    Reply this comment
  5. John Seiler
    John Seiler 21 December, 2010, 17:43

    Taxachusetts: Taxifornia with bad weather.

    Reply this comment
  6. Roy Reynolds
    Roy Reynolds 22 December, 2010, 11:16

    If the Bee’s print process is affected by this, then the LA Times and every other paper in the State should have the same concerns?

    Reply this comment

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