California Gov. Gavin Newsom wants to be sure that as many people as possible know that “we will be the first jurisdiction in the world to require all new cars to be sold to be alternative fuel cars,” following a bureaucratic decision to follow his executive order. But done, he is not. The governor is urging lawmakers to do more, and he has shared his “urgent proposals addressing climate change with the state Legislature.” And these things have to be done right away, because “later is too late.”
Specifically, Newsom, according to a statement from his office, wants to:
- Codify statewide carbon neutrality guidelines “to dramatically reduce climate pollution.”
- Ramp up “our 2030 climate ambition.”
- Shield communities from the oil industry’s “harmful impacts.”
- Establish a pathway toward a “clean energy future.”
- And advance “natural and engineered technologies to remove carbon pollution.”
But as hard as Newsom is pushing for these measures, others are pushing back.
One large alliance, made up of farmers, energy interests, the construction industry, business associations, and a number chambers of commerce, says it has “considerable concerns” with Newsom’s proposals. It wants the Legislature to give them “careful deliberation” instead of a rubber stamp (the last two words are ours). Forcing through the climate agenda simply does not provide adequate “time for real input or debate and would undermine the legislative process.”
For instance “adopting a more aggressive GHG 2030 emissions reduction target, from 40% to 55% below the 1990 level,” which “would require the state to remove an additional 17 million gasoline vehicles off the road by 2030,” needs a hard look, one that takes more time than is left in the session.
The alliance also said that under Newsom’s plans, CEQA would become “a super-charged anti-housing weapon in the hands of NIMBYs,” and because of the mandates involved, the price of new homes will increase “by a minimum of $50,000.”
“This means that the Legislature’s efforts over the past several years – enacting more than 80 bills to plan for, approve and produce the 2.5 million more homes that the Department of Housing and Community Development say we need – will have been for nothing.”
Even Los Angeles Times columnist George Skelton acknowledges that Newsom is proposing “some stuff” to fight global warming that “would make it even tougher to build new housing in high-cost California.”
Apparently “many lawmakers” share concerns with the alliance. They “are privately perturbed that he waited until the last minute of the session, which ends Aug. 31,” says Skelton, and are justified in their complaints “that there isn’t adequate time to study the proposals’ impacts, including on housing.”
If anyone is wondering “why now” regarding what looks to be a hasty effort by Newsom, Skelton might have provided the answer in quoting one critic who believes what many others have also surely concluded.
“He’s trying to rush everything through and then he’s going to take it and go national. That’s what this is about,” says California Business Roundtable President Rob Lapsley.
So maybe the only housing that Newsom really cares about is that big white pad on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington.
Kerry Jackson is a fellow with the Center for California Reform at the Pacific Research Institute.