California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) signed 40 new climate and environmental bills at once on Friday, leaving observers puzzled as to how the state will implement a slew of new “green” mandates and deadlines as it struggles with current ones.
In a press release last Friday, Newsom’s office boasted that he had signed “some of the nation’s most aggressive climate measures in history … ” to cut pollution, protect Californians from big polluters, and accelerate the state’s transition to clean energy.” The major points to emerge from more than three dozen new laws are a commitment to achieve “carbon neutrality” in the state’s energy consumption by 2045, and 90% “clean” energy sources– primarily wind and solar energy — by 2035.
In 2021, total “thermal and non-renewable” energy sources accounted for nearly two-thirds of the state’s energy supply, with the largest portion — nearly 38% — coming from natural gas. Nuclear energy and energy from large hydroelectric dams made up just over 9% each, while coal — probably the most easily replaced fossil fuel — made up just 3%. Wind and solar energy together made up just over 25% of the state’s power, with geothermal, biomass, and “small hydroelectric” adding to the mix.
The new climate measures argue that renewable energy sources can be expanded from one-third of the state’s power input to 90% in just over a decade, partly by spending $54 billion that California has allocated to the task of fighting climate change.
Meanwhile, the state is struggling to provide power for its basic needs during times of peak demand. California suffered nearly two weeks of “flex alerts” earlier this month, during which residents were told to conserve energy, including by not charging their electric vehicles — which the state wants to mandate by 2035 — during key afternoon and evening hours.
In addition to aiming for “carbon neutrality” — i.e. net zero carbon dioxide emissions, where the burning of fuels is matched by the absorption of carbon dioxide through forest growth and other sequestration processes — the new laws also add further restrictions to the state’s dwindling oil industry, which has already been squeezed by political pressure and strict regulations.
The Wall Street Journal commented Wednesday on Newsom’s 40 new climate bills in a scathing editorial:
The Western States Petroleum Association says these new [enenrgy] targets would cost every California household between $5,600 and $10,700 a year and increase the cost of building a new home by at least $50,000.
California’s new oil production limitations could destroy tens of thousands of jobs.
You almost have to wonder if California Democrats are trying to drive away working-class families and businesses to ease the strain on the grid and meet their climate goals. Affluent progressives would then have the state to themselves.
Newsom is reported to be planning a run for president in 2024 if President Joe Biden does not run for reelection. His focus on climate is thought to be part of boosting his profile — regardless of the consequences for California’s economy or, indeed, its environment.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.