Brown orders new emissions cuts

MIAMI - JULY 11:  Exhaust flows out of the tailpipe of a vehicle at , "Mufflers 4 Less", July 11, 2007 in Miami, Florida. Florida Governor Charlie Crist plans on adopting California's tough car-pollution standards for reducing greenhouse gases under executive orders he plans to sign Friday in Miami.  (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

At a high-powered leadership gathering in Los Angeles, Gov. Jerry Brown detailed plans, laid out in a new executive order, aimed at slashing California’s carbon emissions to new lows.

The 18th annual Milken Institute Global Conference gave Brown an intellectual backdrop for the news of an intended 40 percent emissions cut from 1990 levels by 2030.

“Under existing state law,” reported the New York Times, “emissions are supposed to be cut 80 percent from what they were in 1990 by 2050, and Mr. Brown said this tough new interim target was essential to helping the state make investment and regulatory decisions that would assure that goal was reached.”

Channelling the cosmopolitan spiritualism that earned him his reputation when first elected governor, Brown reiterated his view that the impact of emissions amounted to a planetary crisis. According to the Times, he asked: “Can we rise above the parochialisms, the ethno-centric perspectives, the immediacy of I-want-I-need, to a vision, a way of life, that is sustainable?”

Ratcheting up regulations

Brown’s new scheme far exceeded the level of emissions restrictions adopted by California’s neighbors — or those of the United States. As the Washington Post reported, the Golden State’s regulatory framework was now set to become the strictest in North America.

“The order will incorporate planning for the impacts of climate change into California’s long-term infrastructure and financial planning,” noted the Post. “It also orders state agencies with jurisdiction over sources of greenhouse gas emissions to limit those emissions to hit the new targets.”

Brown’s confidence in hitting the new marks appeared to be driven by the state’s position relative to benchmarks set by his predecessor in office. As the Associated Press noted, “California already has been moving toward an 80 percent reduction in emissions by 2050 under a 2005 executive order by then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.” On the way to that number, the Schwarzenegger benchmarks mandated a drop to 1990 emissions levels by 2020. State officials told the Times California “may even exceed” that measure.

Brown pegged California’s planned reductions to levels set this October by policymakers in the European Union, according to the San Francisco Chronicle; by setting a course for an 80 percent reduction below 1990 levels at the century’s halfway mark, Brown said in a statement, California would be put “in line with the scientifically established levels needed in the U.S. to limit global warming below 2 degrees Celsius — the warming threshold at which scientists say there will likely be major climate disruptions such as super droughts and rising sea levels.”

Executive force

Brown’s actions on emissions continued the more proactive style of governance he has adopted of late. Previously this week, Brown announced plans for tough new fines punishing excessive water use. Although he vowed only to hit “the worst offenders” with the highest penalties, the Los Angeles Times reported, Brown proposed raising the upper limit from $500 per day to $10,000.

“The governor’s proposal, which must be negotiated with lawmakers, would also empower cities and counties to issue fines. Local governments would be able to enlist staff members to dish out warnings and citations, expanding the ranks of officials prodding Californians to meet conservation targets.”

Along with the dramatic new emissions goals, Brown’s increasingly unforgiving approach to water issues signaled a new theme for his final term in office as governor. Despite showing an almost zen patience in prior years for the workings of California’s unwieldy bureaucracy — a calming influence sometimes criticized within his own party for lacking urgency — Brown has now shifted into a much more unilateral mode. Whether the severity of the state’s drought is the cause, or some broader set of factors, Brown’s more muscular use of his executive power appears set to continue well into the years ahead.

15 comments

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  1. Richard Rider
    Richard Rider 29 April, 2015, 16:28

    We could handle this “problem” with a much simpler reg — simply ban all manufacturing and all commercial vehicles in California. Such a reg would be far easier to understand and enforce.

    And after we drive 80% of the Golden State population out of the state (while essentially banning entry to California), the survivors can live the pastoral life they crave. Good and hard.

    Reply this comment
    • Fred Mangels
      Fred Mangels 30 April, 2015, 09:07

      There’s a story in the Santa Rosa Press- Democrat today about how Lake County has something like the cleanest air in the country. One comment pointed out that’s likely because there’s few people living there and next to no industry (or jobs for that matter) so it would be a no brainer it would have clean air.

      I replied that the Governor seems to be trying to do that to the whole state.

      Reply this comment
  2. Dude
    Dude 29 April, 2015, 16:38

    1). Is it even possible at this point to surgically separate the author’s lips from Gov. Moonbeam’s behind?…proactive…. Zen patience….
    2). Unilateral actions….To cut thru the candy coating, this description belongs to actions taken by dictators……and our current president.

    Reply this comment
  3. Ronald Stein
    Ronald Stein 29 April, 2015, 16:54

    Comments on the proposed SB350 and the Governor’s crusade to kill the CA economy.

    Wow, the potential impact of SB350 on the economy to REQUIRE a 50% reduction in petroleum usage by 2030, just 15 years away.

    Moms will continue to drive their kids to school and soccer, workers still need to drive back and forth from work, hospitality workers still need to drive to work, fast food workers still need to drive to work, truckers still need to deliver the huge amount of containers that arrive in our ports to serve the needs of CA and the entire USA.

    California’s 100,000 electric vehicles are the most electric vehicles in any state, however, the other 97% of California’s 30 million vehicles that DO NOT run on electricity or other alternative fuels are consuming more than 40 million gallons of transportation fuels, gasoline and diesel, excluding jet fuel, EVERY DAY. Sounds like a lot of fuel, but it equates to just more than 1 gallon per day per vehicle.

    California motorists and businesses are major consumers of fossil fuel products.

    Even though there is a both projected growth in population from our current 38 million citizens, AND an increase in vehicle registrations from our current 30 million, the fuel demand is projected to decline slightly from the current 40 million gallons per DAY of gasoline and diesel, mostly as a result of continuous improvements in fuel efficiencies, and a slight impact by the 3% of vehicles that run on electricity or other alternative fuels.

    We already have AB32 and the LCFS in effect to control GHG emissions. REQUIRING California’s 38 million citizens to change their lifestyle appears to be bad public policy and possibly unenforceable on abusers that do not reduce their usage by 50%.

    It appears that a reduction from the current 40 million gallons of transportation fuels down to 20 million a day in just 15 years would be a drastic lifestyle change that could severely impact one of the world’s largest economies.

    Reply this comment
    • novaks47
      novaks47 30 April, 2015, 06:12

      To make this insane, pointless goal much more difficult to achieve, is the fact that vehicles built after about 1990 put out very little pollution to begin with. I always call the “smog check” the “exhaust quality check”, because once you read the results, you’ll see they’re looking at tiny numbers, and trying to justify the continuation of said smog checks. That’s also why they added in the part of the test that puts a load on the engine, otherwise there would be almost nothing to measure! Not sure what else they could regulate(or rather strangle to death) at this point!

      Isn’t it great, how Brown and crew focus on this nonsense, rather than anything of actual importance? “Oh, look how noble we are, saving the planet from nothing, and setting preposterous goals that even if achieved, will accomplish nothing of value! Hooray! What’s that you say? Unemployment? Hyper-inflation? Sky-rocketing crime? Decaying infrastructure? Pffffttt, who cares, as long as we FEEL good, and can continue to sip our mocha’s while playing with our iphones!” Maybe this should be Brown’s next campaign slogan, since the libs seem so fond of those : Fantasy Land for Everyone!

      Reply this comment
      • JimmyDeeOC
        JimmyDeeOC 30 April, 2015, 09:03

        Brown’s proposal is insanely expansive, the ramifications of which are beyond the ken of my small mind, but let me take a whack at the low-hanging Smog Check Pinata while it’s within reach…….

        Novak’s points are well stated. The whole premise of smog checks is outdated. How many 1970s cars are on the road anymore? This is nothing but another irritating and time-consuming tax. In a rational world the whole apparatus should be folded up and sunsetted.

        Good luck with that happening.

        Reply this comment
      • Donkey
        Donkey 30 April, 2015, 13:43

        Beautifully written!! 🙂

        Reply this comment
  4. Ronald Stein
    Ronald Stein 30 April, 2015, 09:04

    In January 2015, California’s CARB market based program to lower carbon emissions, known as “cap and trade”, was expanded to include gas and diesel fuels, which will increase the cost of providing transportation fuel.

    California’s 38 million citizens live on an “energy island” with the Pacific Ocean on one side and the Rocky Mountains on the other side. In the past 40 years, California’s population has doubled to its present 38 million but the air is cleaner today than that in the 1970’s.

    The huge California economy is very dependent on the continued mobility of its 30 million registered vehicles and the ability of maintaining a fuel supply to that growing fleet. To continue to support the mobile fleet of vehicles that drives the CA economy, Californians will be forced to seek their transportation fuel needs and the by-products from oil to be provided by other states or countries that have less stringent emission guidelines, resulting in an increase in the World’s Green House Gases.

    The public remains uninformed about the expansion to the cap and trade program, despite the significant cost impacts to individual motorists, and businesses engaged in transporting goods, and the consumers of those products.

    “Fuels under the cap” will have a ripple effect on our state’s economy – costing jobs and increasing the price Californians pay for food, electricity rates, transportation fuels, natural gas rates, and other essential goods and services. California will continue to become MORE expensive and LESS economically competitive.

    For low and middle income families, energy costs are now consuming a larger portion of household income comparable to that traditionally spent on major necessities such as housing, food, and health care.

    California definitely needs a balance in their sources for energy, but regulators and community leaders need to think broadly to find solutions across the entire energy system, inclusive of renewables, electricity, and natural gas, to meet California’s ambitious environmental goals without severely impacting one of the largest economies in the world located on an energy island.

    Reply this comment
  5. ItUsedToBeNiceHere
    ItUsedToBeNiceHere 30 April, 2015, 12:11

    The drumbeat to get out of California ASAP is getting louder and faster….

    Don’t want to be the last fool left here holding the bag to PAY for all this feel-good liberalism control…

    Novaks47 hit the nail right on the head….it’s feel-good governance, for the high-minded liberals….

    Hasta la vista, Babies….

    Reply this comment
  6. mteresa
    mteresa 30 April, 2015, 18:25

    I am in heaven. Jerry is a fraud. His legacy will be exposed after he is gone, just another RICH egomaniac, who has his image controlled to conceal a sinfully, arrogant real Jerry. Where are all the poor that have personally helped with his hands? Answer, in his press releases. The truth is that he shields himself from the unwashed. Jerry, let me turn around. Wash this.

    Reply this comment
  7. ecopolitics
    ecopolitics 1 May, 2015, 07:36

    The California Independent System Operator (ISO) overseeing the state’s electric power plants, transmission grid and system planning recently raised the specter of energy poverty due to the state-mandated renewable energy portfolio’s failure to meet rising electric power demands. The challenge to meet non-peak electricity demands has been created by the state’s 33 to 51 percent mandate for green renewable power by 2020. These non-peak power shortfalls are already occurring, but will get worse by 2015, and become disastrous under Brown’s new climate conniption.

    Green renewable energies include wind, solar, biofuel, biogas and small-scale hydroelectric power sources. In the mandated California state energy system that would be half supplied by green renewables, predicted electric power short falls would be inevitable. It would no longer be just peak hot months of the summer or unusual winter cold snaps creating power blackouts or rolling brownouts.

    Gov. Brown’s reflex to cut carbon on behalf of a partisan push for phantom climate imperatives presents a critical challenge to the reliability and affordability of electricity for consumers.
    Los Angeles Ecopolitics Examiner

    Reply this comment
  8. Bill Gore
    Bill Gore 1 May, 2015, 08:43

    These goals will be achieved in typically underhanded fashion via carbon offsets in OTHER STATES, primarily the northwest. So once again Kalifornia gets to declare victory….while the economies of Oregon and Washington get HAMMERED. So sick of these ultra-righteous Marin SOB’s…..

    Reply this comment
  9. Queeg
    Queeg 1 May, 2015, 20:22

    Worry not.

    Commodity shortages are the new reality due to devolution of the industrial revolution.

    Black Swans all over the place……these critters are creepy stealthy!

    And they taste like chicken.

    Reply this comment
  10. Bubba
    Bubba 2 May, 2015, 07:53

    Not to worry! Gov. Moonbeams next order will to be tax all fossil fuel vehicles out of existence and turn the freeways in to bike paths, ban nuke and conventional power plants and run the state on just solar cells and wind turbines.
    All in the name of Stopping “Climate Change” and preventing the seas from rising!

    No wonder J.B. Is called Gov. Moonbeam!

    Reply this comment
  11. desmond
    desmond 2 May, 2015, 16:29

    Don t forget open borders. That will reduce carbon emissions. Some things are just counter-intuitive to us mortals, but Brown is ahead of us.

    Reply this comment

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