Gov. Jerry Brown was in New York City this week for the United Nations Climate Summit.
In remarks delivered during the gathering of more than 120 heads of state and government leaders, the governor boasted of California’s putative “global leadership” in combating climate change.
The state has goals: “one-third of its electrical sector renewable” by 2020, said Brown, and “a million electric cars” on its roads.
California has developed the nation’s “toughest building standards,” said Brown, and a cap-and-trade system that “covers 85 percent of greenhouse gases.”
And yet, said the governor, pooh-poohing those of us who suggest the state’s war on fossil fuels has been a drag on the state economy, “California is looking forward to very solid growth, higher than the national level.”
So “you can do carbon pricing, you can do renewable energy, you can do building standards,” Brown assured his fellow climate summiteers. “And you can still have a very vibrant economy.”
Well, here’s what Brown’s supposed vibrant economy looks like:
The eighth-poorest economic performance among the 50 states, according to a report in June by the American Legislative Exchange Council; a jobless rate that is tied for the sixth-worst, as the U.S. Labor Department reported in September; and the nation’s highest poverty rate, according to the Census Bureau.
The reality is that California’s great leap forward to a green economy has failed to yield the returns on investments promised by Gov. Brown and other cheerleaders for renewable energy.
Indeed, just last week, the respected UCLA Anderson Forecast stated that Brown’s supposed vibrant economy has managed “unexceptional growth.” And it foresees a “painful plodding” for the state economy over the next two years.
As to employment, Brown promised in 2010 to create a half-million green jobs. Well, four years have passed, and California is nowhere near that grandiose goal.
In fact, little more than 2,500 clean-energy and clean-technology jobs were announced in California for the first six months of this year, according to a report this month by Environmental Entrepreneurs, a consortium of green-energy companies and investors.
That works out to an average 417 green jobs created per month. As our governor might say, “It’s not a burp. It’s barely a fart.”
Gov. Brown suggested that the state mandate imposed on Southern California Edison, San Diego Gas & Electric and Pacific Gas & Electric to generate a third of their electricity from solar energy, wind power and other renewable sources has no negative economic impact.
But as the Economist reported this past winter, “Countries with large amounts of renewable generation, like Denmark and Germany, face the highest energy prices in the rich world.”
The governor envisions 1 million electric cars tooling along California’s freeways and roads in the not-too-distant future. And the state just might achieve that goal.
But only because of its diktat to automakers that EVs make up 15 percent of their new car fleets in the Golden State by 2025, and because the government has thrown subsidies at EV buyers.
Then there’s the state’s cap-and-trade system, which Gov. Brown holds out as a model for the rest of the country (if not the whole world). The anti-global-warming regime is estimated to increase gasoline prices by 15 cents a gallon starting next year, costing California motorists $2 billion in the first year alone.
I don’t mind that Gov. Brown flew to New York to tell attendees at the U.N. Climate Summit about all the measures California has mandated to save humanity from global warming.
But I do mind that he suggested to them that all those global warming mandates have taken no toll whatsoever on the state economy.
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