California voters rejected Proposition 23 and thereby missed their chance to delay implementation of AB 32, California’s Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006. That measure is certain to worsen a state economy still in recession, with an unemployment rate of more than 12 percent.

AB 32 seeks to turn back the clock to carbon emission levels of 1990. This legislation is based on the alarmist dogma that the world is getting warmer, that human activity is entirely to blame, and that government must impose draconian regulations on business and industry, otherwise the planet is doomed.

Climate scientists are not in agreement that such is the case, as the recent Climategate scandal confirms, along with scholarly works such as The Great Global Warming Blunder by Roy Spencer. The Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 is also based on the premise that legislation in one state can save the world. It can’t, but the measure can succeed at reducing jobs.

Proposition 23 would have delayed implementation of AB 32 until the unemployment rate dropped to 5.5 percent for four consecutive quarters. The measure failed to pass so now it’s “full speed ahead” with the regulations, as California Air Resources Board boss Mary Nichols told reporters. CARB will impose many of the regulations in the next two years.

The rules target enterprises such as utilities, cement manufacturers and oil refineries, important to California, where workers depend heavily on their cars. Gasoline costs are certain to rise, along with utility bills. Cement manufacturers will be driven out of state and importation of cement will increase emissions.

During the campaign, journalists avoided the defects of AB 32 and seemed surprised that any industry would seek to delay regulations that would drive up costs for its customers. The default narrative became out-of-state oil companies versus the environment. The true story is California’s ruling class versus California workers.

Consider, for example, CARB boss Mary Nichols, whose zealotry has been at full throttle for some time. Environmental regulations should be based only on the best scientific evidence, but that is not the case at CARB.

Mary Nichols made life difficult for James Enstrom, who earned a Ph.D. in physics from Stanford University, when his 2005 study found no evidence that PM2.5, dust and soot from diesel exhaust, causes premature deaths. Her scholar of choice was Hien Tran, whom CARB claimed had earned a Ph.D. in statistics from UC Davis. Tran’s Ph.D. actually came from Thornhill University, a diploma mill located in a New York City UPS office.

Legitimate scholars criticized Tran’s particulate study as “flawed” because it ignored critical evidence. In matters of science, fakery of credentials usually ends a career, but not at CARB. Mary Nichols shrugged off the fraud as a mere distraction and said nothing to the CARB board, the press or legislators. CARB has kept Hien Tran on staff, and nobody called for Mary Nichols to resign.

Workers should understand that, with California’s ruling class, alarmism and zealotry trump facts and consequences, such as jobs. With the highly flawed AB 32 now at “full speed,” a ballpark figure for economic growth in California is zero.

Nothing contained in this blog is to be construed as necessarily reflecting the views of the Pacific Research Institute or as an attempt to thwart or aid the passage of any legislation.

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