Tuesday, February 22, 2011

California Greening

There is a great article by George Gilder in The American Spectator, about California’s green woes, and a whole lot more.

An excerpt.

“CALIFORNIA'S TREASURER BILL LOCKYER has a bridge he wants to sell you. No, he is not putting the Golden Gate on the market. That would actually find buyers. He is trying to foist a "bridge loan" on the country that in effect would require us to buy the entire state.

“Shuffling off the streets of Sacramento into the bond market a few weeks ago seeking to raise some $14 billion in so-called "revenue anticipation notes," Lockyer is offering notes that can be repaid only by future revenue anticipation notes, in a delusional statewide recycling binge of bonds on bonds.

“Since the state at the same time officially projected $20 billion annual deficits for the next six years (Governor elect Jerry Brown says $28 billion in 2011), the end of this road is another of those bridges to nowhere that politicians believe stimulate an economy but ordinary people prefer not to drive on or off. So now Lockyer is following up with a drive to get the federal government to guarantee California's debt against default, which means the taxpayers will have to be the ulti-mate buyers.

“Before we close the deal to purchase the state, however, ordinary financial due diligence would require Congress to make California rescind a "poison pill" provision in its state laws. This poison pill is not medical marijuana. But it renders any bridge loan or "revenue anticipation note" utterly hallucinogenic.

“Unrecognized by most media, conservatives lost miserably in what may have been the most consequential election on November 2. This was the California referendum to repeal Assembly Bill 32, the so-called Global Warming Solutions Act. Passed in 2006, AB 32 ordained that the state economy be ratcheted back to 1990 levels of so-called greenhouse gases by 2020, a 30 percent drop, and mandated an 80 percent drop by 2050. Together with an unsustainable $500 billion public pension overhang and $28 billion current budgetary shortfall, the effort to cap all energy production dooms the state to bankruptcy.

“Although conservative pundits have lavished disdain on this California political potlatch, California is the nation's most important state, dominant in the innovation, manufacturing, and enterprise that make the U.S. economically and militarily supreme in the world. Perhaps two-thirds of the nation's new technology originates in the state or is financed by its venture capitalists. California cannot go down the drain without inflicting serious damage on the rest of the country.

“THE IRONY IS THAT the general trend of advance in conventional "non-renewable" energy for a century -- from wood to coal to oil to natural gas and nuclear -- has already wrought at least a 60 percent drop in carbon emissions per watt. In the words of natural gas pioneer Robert Hefner, "As man travels down the energy path from solid wood and coal to liquid gasoline and to gaseous natural gas and hydrogen, the progression is one of carbon heavy to carbon light; from complex chemical structure to simple; from toxic particulate emissions to no particulate emissions; and finally, from high CO2 emissions to no CO2 emissions." Thus the long-term California targets might well be achieved globally in the normal course of technology advance. Unlike the existing bonfires of ingenuity and money, moreover, an organic advance of energy efficiencies can readily propagate around the world without mandates and subsidies.”