Earth Day Agenda: Cap and Trade Plan for AB 32

California environmental officials have decided against implementing the “cool car” regulations they finalized last June. The move could be a first step toward a better environmental policy and an improved economy.

Last June the California Air Resources Board (CARB) adopted a rule forcing car companies to install metallic reflective windows, which regulators believe will reduce energy use and fight global warming. Trouble is, the metallic coating would hinder law enforcement officials from monitoring electronic ankle bracelets on criminals. That was known at the time CARB adopted the rule, along with other problems, but the threat to public safety finally prompted CARB bosses to announce that cool-car rule-making would “cease.”

The cool-car rule derives from AB 32, the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006. This legislation, favored by Governor Schwarzenegger, aimed to reduce “greenhouse gas emissions,” by the year 2020, to the levels they had been 30 years earlier in 1990. The legislation is based on the belief that the earth is rapidly warming, that human activity is the cause, and that government must impose draconian economic regulation before we all perish. Since 2006, some enlightening information has emerged on this theme.

Temperatures turn out to be flat over the last decade, with no significant warming in evidence, as climate alarmist Phil Jones of the scandal-ridden Climate Research Unit (CRU) at East Anglia University reluctantly concedes. Mr. Jones, whose CRU plays a major role with the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), admits that the Medieval Warm Period (MWP) may have been as warm as today. That nixes the charge that modern industry is to blame for global warming. Significant errors have turned up in temperature reconstructions by James Hansen of NASA, another leading climate alarmist.

The actual facts have not stopped alarmists from conducting an inquisition against all dissenters. That is not the way science works but we are dealing with a horror show here. This campaign terrified California legislators enough to enact AB 32, which supposedly would not harm the California economy, now in worse shape than in 2006. In fact, the bill came advertised as a savior, with countless “green jobs” that would supposedly make the economy thrive.

With an unemployment rate of 12.6 percent, those jobs seem little in evidence, except for the lucrative posts held by state regulators. A recent analysis from California’s Legislative Analysts Office said that in the short term AB 32 would cause a net job loss. In the long term, according to the LAO, the jobs picture was uncertain, but some realities are clear.

Global warming orthodoxy, the basis for AB 32, is in shambles, and for that alone the measure should be reviewed. CARB, to its credit, dumped “cool car” regulations over pubic safety concerns. Legislators should follow that pattern and conduct a “cap and trade” program for AB 32.

Cap immediately, by any means necessary, the economic damage from this bill. Then trade the bill for legislation that reflects scientific reality, not a climate horror show that should have shut down long ago. Tomorrow, the fortieth anniversary of Earth Day, would be a good time to start.

In many ways, but not all, the world is a cleaner place than it was on the first Earth Day in 1970. The data complied in more than a decade of PRI’s Index of Leading Environmental Indicators confirm that economic growth is consistent with environmental quality. Legislators should understand that restoring California to prosperity will help, not hinder, the environment.

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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