Daniel Turner: Think California’s green, insider, pay-to-play politics is bad? It's about to get worse
What does it mean to be “green?"
According to Kermit the Frog, it’s not easy, and now lawmakers in California not quite as honest as Kermit, are trying to make this the law.
“Green” used to mean anti-fossil fuels. For example, cars are bad but biking is “green” and therefore good. Now, just out of curiosity, I’d ask those same morally superior greenies if the bike itself is “green." You know, the carbon-fiber frame, the gears, the tires, the paint, all products of petrochemicals and coal, is the bike green?
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Now you can see why they don’t invite me to their parties.
Let’s looks at energy: what is “green” energy? A source that doesn’t use fossil fuels, right? No, because nuclear power plants are not “green." “Green New Deal” champions like Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., oppose nuclear power.
What about hydropower? Surely that’s “green." The Los Angeles Times reports that in California, hydropower near Yosemite National Park, which has “been churning out carbon-free electricity for nearly a century,” is somehow not counted as green.
Hydropower is responsible for between 5 and 15 percent of California’s energy, none of it's “green” because of dishonest lawmakers and the green lobby that pulls their marionette strings. They are pushing lawmakers to restrict what it means to be “green,” so only wind and solar, the industry’s favored companies, can benefit.
The issue facing wind and solar is basic economics. They often cost more than conventional energy sources, and in a free market economy, competition makes them cost prohibitive.
Enter the power of government and green energy lobbyists.
Step one: get the state to pass “renewable energy mandates” which require a certain percentage of electricity production to be “green."
Step two: define “green” as only wind and solar.
Step three: despite the cost to the taxpayers, force utility companies to buy wind and solar.
Step four: make huge profits, hire more lobbyists, repeat steps one through four.
There is a consequence: skyrocketing electric bills for consumers to pay for the expensive “green” energy. A recent report from the University of Chicago found that these mandates are “inefficient in reducing carbon emissions,” but do hike electricity prices as much as 17 percent. Other experts say the costs could be even higher, and that mandates could even double electricity bills on families, but hey, that’s not the green energy companies’ problem. It’s the law!
You can see why hydropower isn’t considered “green,' that’s less money for wind and solar. The “green” energy companies that would otherwise struggle in the free market rake in cash, taxpayer cash, thanks to their friends in government.
Imagine California had a “vegetable mandate” that forced shoppers to buy a certain percentage of produce with every purchase. You can be sure the kale growers would lobby to get carrots disqualified. Less competition, more profit.
These government mandates do more than just raise prices. They also put more power in the hands of politicians as they define what it means to be “green."
I’m sure when California mandates veggie consumption the chocolate lobby will fight to get it classified as such. Forcing people to buy a product ensures a revenue stream.
Remember the ObamaCare individual mandate?
If you thought California’s green, insider, pay-to-play politics was bad, it’s getting worse.
Just this week, the Los Angeles Times’ editorial board blasted state lawmakers for attempting to create a “slush fund” out of California’s cap-and-trade system. Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration apparently believes that the state should be allowed to spend cap-and-trade tax dollars on any project so long as that is tangentially related to carbon emissions.
Every human activity – breathing and sleeping – involves carbon dioxide, and under this proposal, they are eligible for some form of taxpayer funding from the cap and trade revenue.
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Don’t be surprised if, like the energy mandates, the spoils of this “slush fund” go to those with friends in high places.
California should remind us of something: green politics, like all politics, is moved by money and power. Saying the “green” mandates and slush-fund are “for the earth” or will “combat climate change” just makes them feel less guilty about growing rich off the taxpayers.