Saturday, March 7, 2009

California Dreaming -- AB 32 and Southern Cal

On Friday, March 6, I attended an all-day seminar at UCLA (U. California at Los Angeles) at which the AGW (anthropogenic global warming) faithful gathered, repeated their many mantras, and applauded themselves long and loud. In fairness, there were a couple of voices of reason among the many panelists. But the AGW faithful heard from Mary Nichols, Chair of the Air Resources Board, and Senator Fran Pavley, (California state senator, co-author of AB 32), who both repeated the seas are rising, the globe is warming, and we are just SO happy that our AB 32 is now in place so we will save the world.

No kidding.

About the seas rising, Ms. Nichols stated that the seas COULD rise 8 inches in the next 40 years, and that would be devastating to the half-million people living near the Sacramento River delta and its inadequate levees. No mention of a range of possibilities or likelihood, confidence intervals, or basis for that claim of 8 inches in 40 years. No mention that the satellite data shows the sea level is falling offshore San Francisco. The 8 inch rise was just thrown out there, for the faithful to accept. And they did.

Ms. Nichols flatly stated that hurricanes are growing more violent and more frequent. No one challenged her on that, even though hurricanes are not more frequent nor violent.

Ms. Nichols also stated that the summer heat waves are growing more intense, and wildfires are getting out of hand. One person (maybe he reads WUWT!) did ask her if that was not related to planned burns by federal forest officials? Ms. Nichols spoke in circles and did not answer on that one.  I suppose Ms. Nichols has not been informed that wildfires are a regular, normal, natural part of a forest eco-system.  One can have a look at weathered bluffs along rivers and creeks, and see bands of charcoal buried in the layers of dirt.  These bands of charcoal are the remains of ancient forest fires.   Isn't it odd that the evidence of ancient wildfires is right there, yet today when a wildfire occurs it must be due to man's reckless emissions of CO2 into the atmosphere?  I knew those indigenous peoples were holding out on us, and were driving around in Hummers and SUVs for millenia before the Europeans arrived in North America.  I wonder where those ancient gas-guzzlers were buried?

We also heard that the people must be “kept in their neighborhoods” and given disincentives to drive anywhere, as that will cut down CO2. (that was from the urban planner).  The command and control mentality was quite evident on that one.   Has anybody ever been to such a planned community?  And seen the prices charged in those shops?  Can someone please explain to me how ordinary people, or poor people, or elderly on fixed incomes, are supposed to live there and purchase the goods and services?  Or, are the planners talking about making such communities only for the wealthy?

We then heard from the water guy, who told us that we must install a separate water distribution system to reduce the pumping energy required for potable water. I am still trying to untangle that one. Apparently (according to him, anyway) 19 percent of all California energy (I think he meant electric power) is expended on producing, purifying, pumping, and distributing fresh water. So, if we install a second parallel system, we don’t have to pump the water? I don’t get that one.

The Power guy from Los Angeles DWP (Dept of Water and Power) assured us that DWP will cease importing power from the nasty coal-fired plants in Utah, from which DWP imports about 48 percent of its power. This would occur by 2019 and 2027, just as soon as the existing power purchase contracts expire. By then, the utility will produce power from the oh-so-green geothermal sources at the Salton Sea, build the long transmission lines, and power will still flow to Los Angeles. I tried to get my question asked, but the microphone-dispensing-people did not make it over to me. (these plants may emit sulfur (H2S), briny wastewater, metal salts, and mercury, depending on the geologic formation).

We were also told that the Obama AB 32 copy-cat plan for the U.S. is coming along just fine, and we should see a federal law by late this year. Meanwhile, California’s death-stab at the car companies is coming along nicely, as the U.S. EPA held hearings yesterday to decide when (not if, mind you) California will be granted its more strict tail-pipe emission standards for CO2 on all new-cars sold in-state. Just what the highly-profitable car companies need, a third emissions standard. (One is for Europe, one is for the U.S. without California’s strict standard, and the third is the Pavley standards for California).  

[for those reading this in the future, this is sarcasm.  The car companies in March, 2009, are in dire fiscal straits, facing bankruptcy and losing vast billions of dollars quarterly because so few people are buying their products.  There is a bit of a credit crisis occurring as well, also an economic slump, unemployment rising rapidly, and a new President (Obama) who just printed more than a trillion U.S. dollars to give away in a massive "stimulus" plan.  The stock market has tanked from 14,000 to 6,600 on the good news. -- Roger]

DWP had a few moments of comedy, too. We were told that each household in their utility district can drop by the department and pick up two compact fluorescent light bulbs for free. (Well, I thought that was funny…as if that will make any difference!) This next bit was not funny, but serious: low-income Californians can request a new refrigerator from DWP, and they will bring over a new, energy-efficient refrigerator, install it, and take away the old one. No charge. Then more comedy: we can also expect to have free neighborhood make-over parties, during which homes will be weatherized to plug the drafty spots, shade-trees will be planted, and rooftops painted white. This was met by great applause. I can just picture the conversation at the front porch in certain neighborhoods: Hi, we’re from DWP and we are here to weatherize your house, can we come in? Uh, hold on, we were not expecting you, we need to clean up the place first. Ok, we can wait! Furious activity to put away the drugs and the paraphernalia and the guns and ammo. (This is Los Angeles, remember?)

We were also told that California is having a water shortage, a drought actually, now in its third year. Then, completely disregarding the drought line from just a few minutes earlier, we were told that bio-fuels require an awful lot of water to grow and manufacture. Bio-fuels are mandated under AB 32. My question (again, unasked) was, hey fellas! Remember that drought discussion? From where can we obtain all that water for growing and processing bio-fuels?

No one stood to say the seas are not rising, at least off the coast of San Francisco, and not for the past few years.

No one stood to ask about the recent cold snaps, and snowfall.

No one stood to ask about the near-normal arctic ice extent, and the increased Antarctic ice.

No one stood to ask about the cooling oceans.

No one stood to ask about the cooling atmosphere since 2002.

No one stood to state there is zero relation between CO2 and climate warming.

California is Dreaming, all right.    I just wonder how bad the economy must be, before the AB 32 nonsense is postponed or repealed forever.   How much unemployment?  How expensive for bio-fuel blended gasoline and diesel?  How expensive for electricity?  How unreliable the utility systems due to over-reliance on solar and wind?  

Roger E. Sowell, Esq. 

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