Scrap, don’t replicate, California’s climate policy

jerry brownRoughly 40 representatives from California joined leaders from around the world at the recently concluded U.N. Conference on Climate Change in Paris. Political elites from around the globe reached a universal agreement to fight global warming.

The California delegation traveled to France to showcase the Golden State as a model of progressive climate policy, a leader in the fight against what they perceive to be a very serious and immediate threat from global warming. But those who attended the Paris conference would do right to avoid the destructive path California has chosen, especially for the sake of the least-fortunate.

The agenda California is pursuing is one of high taxes and destructive regulation intent on hampering cheap and abundant forms of energy while propping up costly ones at taxpayer expense. It may please ideological billionaires, (who don’t seem to have a problem producing their own massive carbon footprints), but it has been a driving force in unemployment, poverty and income inequality within the state, resulting in an alarming rate of outmigration.

According to IRS tax migration data, California lost more than $54 billion in taxable income from 1992-2014. That’s over $5,000 a minute, and is second only to New York ‚Äì another bastion of progressive economic policy.

Gov. Jerry Brown and former governor Arnold Schwarzenegger are proud of the “progress” made in the Golden State, and traveled to Paris to impart California’s wisdom to the rest of the planet. That should have been a tough sell to other countries, especially when most states in this country have rejected these extreme measures.

President Obama is using every means in his power to enact an environmental agenda that is slowing down our own economy, and now he has asked Congress for billions of tax dollars to subsidize the economies of other countries, as a way to encourage them to pursue policies that, ultimately, are not in the best interests of their own people.

Access to cheap, abundant and reliable energy sources like coal, oil and natural gas is one of the single most important factors in accelerating human progress – lifting people from poverty, improving their quality of life and creating greater opportunity.

That is precisely what millions of people in India, sub-Saharan Africa and other parts of the world desperately need. But rather than allow affordable energy and economic freedom to uplift people, the Obama administration and the California delegation prefer to incentivize those countries to clamp down on coal and other affordable energy sources while propping up unsustainable “green energy” ventures.

Regulations like President Obama’s so-called “Clean Power Plan” threaten to increase energy costs while making no impact on the climate. The byzantine labyrinth of red tape at every level of government makes it more complicated than ever to do business. Perhaps most ironically, attempts to ban fracking are making it more difficult to access natural gas ‚Äì never mind the fact that it is the increased use of natural gas, not the billions of taxpayer dollars spent propping up green energy, that is actually helping to improve America’s emissions, since gas is “cleaner” than coal.

The free market creates solutions government bureaucrats never could, but the central planners in California, in the Obama administration, and many of those who went to Paris would rather not take the chance.

The greatest resource we have on this planet are people. For their sake, instead of replicating it, let the “California model” stand as a lonesome example of failure in this once-Golden State.

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