According to The World Counts of October 2014, global temperature has risen about 0.8 degrees Celsius, or 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit since 1880. Let’s assume man is responsible. Who do we blame?
In 2016, Daily Mail reported that the world production of carbon dioxide was 36.2 metric tons. The U.S. produced 5.78 metric tons; 15.99 percent. California produced 6.61 percent of the nation’s contribution of carbon; or .38 percent. That means that California, alone, produced less than 1 percent of the world’s supply of carbon in 2016. These numbers will vary depending on the source, but they are consistent with each other within a few percentage points. And, they are consistent in any given year.
For the sake of conversation, let's accept this as factual. And, let's assume that all of global carbon dioxide is created by man. The obvious question, then, is what can be done about the problem?
California has taken a position to increase the cost of electricity, and gasoline, to discourage the use of energy. Indeed, California has the highest rates for energy in the nation. Why? Is it our intent to decrease our contribution of global carbon from 1 per cent to one-half of one percent? That's ludicrous!
Is it our intent to lead the nation into a more conscientious use of fossil fuels? That doesn’t make sense. The entire nation's contribution is less than 16 percent of total carbon emission on planet earth. U.S. pollution is insignificant compared with worldwide numbers.
The only other consideration is that California is making a symbolic gesture. That’s sad and it's crazy. People in California suffer needless economic costs, and hardship, while trying to heat and cool their homes. Driving to work, or anywhere, is needlessly expensive. The poor are hurt the most. A disproportional amount of income for the poor is spent on basic necessities, limiting leisure money for personal enjoyment. High energy costs also increase the cost of food and its transportation.
California has a stated goal to increase the cost of energy to promote “green" energy. Gov. Jerry Brown's energy (executive order) plan is to reduce the state's emissions 80 percent below the 1990 level by 2050. In addition to the already high costs of electricity, natural gas, and gasoline (oil), there is pending legislation to do even more. There is a proposal to make all energy in the state produced by renewable (wind and solar) sources. No fossil fuels!
Most of the renewable energy conservation efforts are directed at residential usage. Residential use of electricity and oil represents only about 20 percent of total state usage. Industry in California consumes more than 80 percent of all energy produced. Almost all of that energy is generated by fossil fuels. More electric use will require more electricity. Wind and solar can’t meet the increased need.
With that understanding, the state's interest has been to limit development of any new oil resources. In addition, current oil production is challenged and regulated. The goal is to drive oil production out of the state. Not just the burning of fossil fuels, but all of its production, as well.
There is pending legislation to replace gasoline powered cars with all electric cars by 2040. While this is impossible, it's also a bad idea.
There is not one electric car made today that does not require government subsides to make an electric car affordable. Electric cars need electricity to run. That's already an expensive and limited fuel. It would take hundreds of thousands of dollars to convert each gas station to a recharging station. Technology doesn't exist to charge a car battery quickly enough to offer long trips. In addition, the electricity required for just one recharging station would require enough electricity to power thousands of homes. That means more demand. Again, there are not enough solar panels to make that work.
California is a very large industrial state. It feeds half of the country and exports products throughout the world. Yet worldwide production of carbon is comparatively low. One percent is hardly worth noting. Californians pay the highest energy rates in the nation. And for what reason? Just to make a statement?
If California were really serious about addressing the problems created by carbon, we would be wise to work with developing nations who are causing more than 85 percent of the problem. Current activity makes Jerry Brown feel good, but it does not resolve a single problem.
H. Steven Cronquist has been a local independent insurance broker since 1974. He also teaches insurance classes to other insurance agents through the Bakersfield Continuing Education program throughout California.