California Bureaucracy: Air Regulators or Airheads?

Hey! Here’s an idea.  How about the government taxes us for every time we exhale?  Cause heck, that’s CO2 being added to the air, and regardless of how ridiculous a regulation is, or how inhibitive it is to human flourishing, or how useless it is in actually protecting the environment, liberals think it’s a great idea.

Anyone who has taken 6th grade biology knows that humans and other animals need oxygen in the air in order to undergo respiration, and plants need CO2 to undergo photosynthesis.  These elements and compounds have been in the air for a long, long time.  Photosynthesis has been going on for about 2 billion years.

Yet, liberal environmentalists now consider CO2 a dangerous pollutant and think that the government needs to regulate it, not because it will actually protect the environment, but because “politically driven science” dictates to their conscience.  (The phrase ‘politically driven’ and ‘science’ should be an immediate red flag.)

Take, for example, what is happening in California.  It will be “the first state in the nation to charge industries across the economy for greenhouse gases they emit.”

Despite the ease with which this cap-and-trade system can be abused, and the fear that many have about the devastating effects it will have on California’s economy, CA lawmakers have burdened their citizens with this law.

“The risks [of the law] for California are enormous. Opponents and supporters alike worry that the program could hurt the state’s fragile economy by driving out refineries, cement makers, glass factories and other businesses. Some are concerned that companies will find a way to outmaneuver the system, causing the state to fall short of its emission reduction targets.”

But here’s the best part.  In order to comply with this heinous law, folks are hired, quite lucratively we might add — independent verifiers can make $800 to $1,200 a day — to audit plots of land by measuring the diameters of trees “to calculate how much carbon could be stored” in them.  Yes, there are actually people whose job it is to measure tree trunks in order to ‘verify’ that the trees are doing their part in keeping CO2 out of the air.

Apart from being vaguely amusing, what will this law actually accomplish?

For one thing, it’ll make housing less affordable, and the housing crisis in California definitely does not need to be exacerbated.  To demonstrate how ridiculous these laws can be, look at another piece of climate change legislation: the Lieberman-Kerry cap and trade bill.  Analysis of this bill found that the legislation, if enacted, would incentivize people through “zoning and other land use regulations” to live closer together which would reduce their need for automobiles and shift them to use of public transportation. Greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) would thereby be reduced.

But concentrating people into a small area makes living in that area more expensive — that old supply and demand concept.  More importantly, “findings to date suggest that tighter land-use regulations have little or no impact on energy use or GHG emissions,” and “realizing these minimal benefits would require extreme government coercion, which would not be tolerated in a free society and would receive little support in Congress.”

Similarly, the Waxman-Markey climate change legislation would only have increased “energy prices-thereby causing a considerable reduction in the rate of economic growth, the amount of GDP, household incomes, and employment.”

The whole story of climate change legislation is a tragic comedy at best and an outright tragedy at worst.  While benefits of these environmental regulations have been nebulous, the detriments are abundantly clear.  The economy and the American people have only suffered as a result of climate change legislation and the EPA’s rogue rulemaking process, and it’s no surprise that laws based on “politically driven science” have had results as farcical as their cause.

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