Would the Sky Fall if Newsom’s Environmental Budget Cuts Are Enacted? Reality Says No. – Pacific Research Institute

Would the Sky Fall if Newsom’s Environmental Budget Cuts Are Enacted? Reality Says No.


The public is, we assume, expected to be alarmed that Gov. Gavin Newsom’s budget cutting includes slashing climate programs by the billions.

CalMatters reports that “an array of key climate programs – including efforts to combat rising seas and help low-income Californians buy electric cars – face significant cuts and delays as California seeks to close a $56 billion deficit over the next two fiscal years.” Newsom’s latest proposal is “a 17% reduction, or $9.4 billion, from the 2022 peak” of climate spending.

This of course gets the voices of doom rolling.

“The climate crisis doesn’t take a break for tough budget years,” said David Weiskopf, senior policy adviser for NextGen California, which advocates for environmental and social issues, said in CalMatters. “Anything we put off for later will only cost us more and run up the bill we will have to pay as the climate crisis worsens.” Meanwhile, legislative Democrats reject most of Newsom’s proposed environmental program cuts in their joint spending plan – relying on budget gimmicks to retain them largely through fund shifts.

Let’s try it a different way – zero out all the state’s climate programs and come back in five years and see how things stand. It would not be shimmying out on a spindly limb to predict that the climate will be much as it is today. The same for 10 years from now.

It’s been said many times before, but some truths must be repeated so that the fictions can be uprooted: There’s nothing California can do to change the climate, no matter how much faith policymakers and activists have in their programs and proposals.

For one, greenhouse gas emissions from developing nations will negate any cuts made not only in California but reductions made nationally. The U.S., which emits a little more than 11% of the world’s anthropogenic greenhouse gases, “could cut its carbon dioxide emissions 100% and it would not make a difference in abating global warming,” says Nicolas Loris, then of the Heritage Foundation. While California sacrifices power plants to Gaia, power-hungry China, India and Indonesia are building coal plants at a blistering pace. ​​China permitted more coal plants in 2022 than in any of the previous seven. Last year the country approved 114 gigawatts of coal power capacity, an increase of 10% over 2022. China is “​​starting construction on one new plant per week,” says Global Energy Monitor.

Two, California produces roughly 1% of all global greenhouse gas emissions. There would be no impact on the climate or Earth’s temperature if that number somehow dropped to zero tomorrow.

Three, it’s still not clear that man’s GHG emissions are having, or will have, a damaging impact on the planet. There’s plenty of reasonable doubt about the manmade global warming narrative. To start with, the temperature record has been compiled from a mishmash of various sources, from tree rings from Siberia, to conflicting ice cores (both proxies that are therefore less accurate than direct measurements), low-tech equipment from earlier eras, subjective and erroneous thermometer readings, and questionable statistical methods.

What’s more, the temperature reconstruction that produced the famous – or infamous, depending on one’s point of view – “hockey stick” is not universally trusted.

Despite the many science- and reason-based arguments that contradict the narrative, California continues to act as if it can save the world, in part by itself but also by building a model that other states, as well as the federal government, can follow. But there’s a crack in the climate wall. If man-made warming were the threat that Sacramento says it is, isn’t it irresponsible to cut even a dollar of funding? Or is it a tacit admission that climate spending is a luxury based in politics and not a necessity?

We say cut it all and see what happens. The sky won’t fall. We’re sure of it.

Kerry Jackson is the William Clement Fellow in California Reform at the Pacific Research Institute.


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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