CA Dems push ambitious energy bill

Solar panels, wikimediaA bold and controversial new bill, introduced by Senate President Pro Tempore and leading Democrat Kevin de Leon, D-Los Angeles, advanced through the Assembly on the strength of Gov. Jerry Brown’s vociferous rhetoric on climate change.

As CBS Los Angeles reported, Brown tied his support for the legislation to his broader climate agenda, which has seen him praise Pope Francis’ recent encyclical on environmental matters and earn a trip to Vatican City to push for global change.

“‘We’ve got a serious problem here,’ he told KCAL9 Political Reporter Dave Bryan via satellite. ‘Burning oil and gas and coal and diesel is a big part of the problem. We’ve got to find new bio-fuels. We have to be more efficient. We’ve got a lot to do. And by the way, if we do nothing, the cost is unimaginable.'”

Brown has done his best to use his final term in office to amplify that message whenever possible. His trip to the Vatican, Sci-Tech Today noted, will be just “the latest of several international trips the governor has taken to urge others to do more to curb global warming. He’s also been rallying states and provinces to sign an agreement to match California’s target for reducing emissions by 2050.”

Stricter standards

While Brown has pushed the message, Democrat allies in Sacramento have crafted the content of regulations to match. De Leon’s bill, SB350, “imposes three significant clean-energy goals by 2030,” U-T San Diego’s Steven Greenhut observed: “Reducing the use of petroleum products in automobiles by 50 percent; increasing to 50 percent (from a current 33-percent goal) the amount of energy that uses renewable sources such as solar and wind power; and doubling energy-efficiency in current buildings.”

In fact, the legislation was crafted around achieving the outsized goals Brown set for ratcheting down California’s statewide emissions levels. As an interim step, the governor has proposed that the state “cut emissions to 40% below 1990 levels by 2030. It’s an ambitious target that members of his administration insist is achievable,” according to Sci-Tech Today.

De Leon himself has not shied away from using aggressive language to characterize the bill’s sweep and ostensible urgency, as Greenhut noted. “We need to break the stranglehold the profit-driven oil companies have on our economy and give consumers better options to power their homes and cars in cleaner, healthier and more sustainable ways,” de Leon said in remarks posted to his website.

Brown, for his part, has openly acknowledged the level of industry outrage the bill guarantees. “Well, of course, the people who are gonna sell 50 percent less petroleum are not only gonna have questions, they’re gonna have a fierce, unrelenting opposition,” he told KCAL-9.

But the coming regulatory shakeup has made for some strange industry bedfellows. “One of the issues both utilities and solar installers have raised,” according to GreenTech Solar, “is that distributed solar should not be treated any differently than utility-scale solar as the state crafts the rules around meeting the new 50 percent target.

A legislative scramble

Part of the urgency behind SB350 has been driven by environmental regulations voted into law years ago. AB32, the big climate bill passed in 2006, “established a goal of cutting the state’s greenhouse gas emission to 1990 levels by 2020. To meet that goal, emissions need to fall by six percent between 2013 (the latest year for which figures are available) and 2020,” CalMatters reported. “Brown and other political leaders expect that to happen,” according to SCPR, although, to date, “emissions have fallen only slightly since 2009, when the recession ended.”

The minor dip has been attributed to the difficulty involved in pushing California’s energy usage much lower than it is already. “Greenhouse gas emissions in California dropped by 7 percent from their peak in 2004 to 2013, compared to 9 percent nationwide over the same period,” according to CalMatters. “Reducing emissions is harder here because the state’s economy is already relatively energy-frugal.”

17 comments

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  1. Sean
    Sean 24 July, 2015, 09:26

    California’s legislature may think they are pioneering a new path but they are actually trying to enact legislation that is similar to what some European countries did 5 or 6 years back. The UK in particular called for 80% carbon reduction by 2050. The Labor government that enacted this legislation has been replaced by a Tory government that swept the most recent elections and is now in the process of dismantling renewable energy subsidies and other green programs because of the economic pain they have caused. http://www.thegwpf.com/at-last-uk-government-signals-end-to-unilateral-co2-targets/ If California politians hope to keep their jobs (because they certainly care little for the jobs of the voters) they should be mindful of how the Europeans have had to walked back their CO2 targets before they rush further into a blind ally.

    Reply this comment
  2. vonborks
    vonborks 24 July, 2015, 10:18

    World governments have spent many billion$ on solar electricity and it remains only a small fraction of electricity usage because solar electricity is available only a few hours mid-day on very sunny days, like maybe only 1500 hours a year, making it very costly. In an attempt to make solar competitive the buzz word is now “battery storage”. But a question: Who is to determine how much storage capacity a given solar installation must have? A very complex problem that could magnify many times the basic size, cost and maintenance of a solar farm or rooftop installation. Nonetheless we can expect the world’s governments, with USA & California leading the pack, to spend many more billion$ to prove again that solar will never be more than a small percentage of electricity used in California and the vast majority of world locations. Every once in a while it would be well to remember that the only reason for solar is via government mandates based upon the UN/IPCC anthropogenic apocalypse hypothesis, not a proven theory. Both Obama and Jerry have made extensive use of their “Bully Pulpits” directing their supporters and the Departments and Agency’s under their control to adhere to that hypothesis, regardless of cost. I’m thinking that once they are out-of-office their replacements may think twice about further supporting that agenda (they will too many more serious problems) hopefully providing a bit of “breathing room” for real science to be heard.

    Reply this comment
    • Nice
      Nice 24 July, 2015, 16:20

      Do you actually think the illiterate masses in CA will ever throw these bums out?

      Reply this comment
    • Bill Gore
      Bill Gore 24 July, 2015, 16:37

      California has a superabundance of GEOTHERMAL resources, yet NIMBYS and enviros always seem to stymie any real development. So, long story short, California’s ‘sustainability’ will be achieved by sucking the Pacific Northwest’s cheap abundant hydropower away and leaving us SCREWED in the usual California fashion. NO Pacific Northwest hydropower for California! NONE! Now SCAT!

      Reply this comment
  3. bob
    bob 24 July, 2015, 13:47

    These DemoNcrats are going to make living in this state prohibitively expensive. You will have the rich and the poor and not much in between.

    Reply this comment
    • Queeg
      Queeg 24 July, 2015, 20:51

      Comrades,

      Socialism is still an experiment. Only rich and poor….back to drawing board.

      Reply this comment
  4. bob
    bob 24 July, 2015, 13:50

    …profit-driven oil companies….

    What a stupid adjective to use for a company. Aren’t all companies profit driven? Or are they charities?

    Ponce DeLeon is another economically illiterate DemoNRat.

    Reply this comment
  5. Dork
    Dork 24 July, 2015, 14:35

    emissions need to fall by six percent between 2013 (the latest year for which figures are available) and 2020,”

    All Public Employees SHALL be required to use Public Transportation and or Mass Transit for ALL Travel to and from their respective work place.

    Problem Solved overnight!

    Reply this comment
    • lolo
      lolo 24 July, 2015, 15:52

      …and all illegal ALIENS will walk back across the border to where they came from !

      Reply this comment
  6. Nice
    Nice 24 July, 2015, 16:18

    The illiterate (thanks to teacher unions) and illegals ( thanks to democrats) will keep voting these same idiots into office until every provider of jobs has left the state.

    Reply this comment
    • Queeg
      Queeg 24 July, 2015, 20:56

      Comrade Nice, there are no winners or losers in collectivism……everyone votes. Everyone has a job.

      Reply this comment
  7. bubba
    bubba 25 July, 2015, 14:04

    I know let’s all get Flintstone Cars so we won’t have to worry when the IDIOTS in Sacramento raise the gas tax and gas here will cost $8 a gallon like it does in Europe!
    A tax on energy producers here pretty soon California won’t have any gas just like we don’t have any water…more environmental stupidity from the know nothings like Moonbean!

    Get wise Gov, pretty soon you won’t have anyone to tax because everyone is leaving!

    Reply this comment
  8. desmond
    desmond 25 July, 2015, 15:57

    Timeline, Feb. 2016. Governor Jerry Brown discussing climate change. ” this is the biggest challenge the human species has ever faced. Heck, it may not be too late, we may be already dead, and we are quarks in the next milennium. The news you see on CNN is tomorrow’s news broadcast today from another dimension. I have known that global warming was going to kill everything, since I woke up next year. Just shut up and shout from the mountains of Neptune that tomorrow’s threats are goals to achieve. Let me leave you thinking about the achievements of great California citizens like John Gacy. Chow.”

    Reply this comment
  9. Ronald Stein
    Ronald Stein 26 July, 2015, 10:02

    Governor Brown is a great politician, but he is killing his huge budget and support for infrastructure with his crusade to support Senate Bill 350, the Clean Energy and Pollution Reduction Act of 2015. That will mandate a 50 percent reduction in oil usage by vehicles by 2030.

    The reality is that Honda has opted to kill its Civic hybrid and CNG models. The death of the Civic hybrid and CNG are an acknowledgment of public disinterest in the alternative technologies. According to Karl Brauer of Kelley Blue Book, this is a “reflection of zero interest from American consumers in small, fuel-efficient cars — especially more expensive hybrid versions of small, fuel-efficient cars,” “This is in keeping with where the market is going, away from hybrids and toward smaller, more efficient internal combustion engines.”

    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.

    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 to more than 40 million vehicles, 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%.

    Senate Bill 350, the Clean Energy and Pollution Reduction Act of 2015 that will mandate a 50 percent reduction in oil usage by vehicles by 2030 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 to demobilize one of the world’s largest that is funding the huge California budget. With more miles projected to be driven on California highways, there would be a significant reduction in transportation fuel tax revenue to fund the maintenance and repairs of the highway transportation systems.

    Reply this comment
  10. Aaron
    Aaron 13 August, 2015, 08:03

    CA (and other) legislators should lead by example when they propose new legislation. So if they want to cut fuel consumption by 50%, they should do a pilot program whereby they cut their fuel consumption by 50% for a year and see how it works. Then they should have an independent third-party document and reveal to the public what they did and what the impacts were. Enough of the “do as I say not as I do” approach; true leaders lead by example and accept the consequences – good or bad. This bill (SB 350) is as damaging and idiotic as the current proposal in LA to ease traffic congestion, by reducing the number of traveled lanes for vehicles, adding bus-only lanes, and adding more bike lanes, all in the hopes of “encouraging” people to use their cars less frequently and use alternate means of transportation. I don’t see how reducing traveled lanes will ease traffic congestion. Sometimes I feel we live in a parallel universe alongside the politicians, and when the universes collide, we get the brunt of the blow.

    Reply this comment
  11. Spurwing Plover
    Spurwing Plover 17 November, 2015, 08:00

    Oh just feel the Hot Air coming from Sacramento it will melt stone and the california dems are the main producers of it

    Reply this comment

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