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  • Robust Economy Needs Affordable Energy

    Proposition 23 seeks to put some of California’s more egregious energy regulations on hold—at least until the California economy recovers. Current law will force consumers to switch to energy sources that can be four or more times as expensive as conventional energy, driving energy prices up, employers out, and consumers crazy. The current rules make especially little sense in the current economic environment.

    In addition to the standard environmental groups, those financing the opposition to Proposition 23 are mainly financiers who stand to gain from restrictions on conventional energy and billionaires who are far removed from worries over monthly energy bills and losing a job. The problem for the other 37 million Californians is that they do worry about how they can pay higher energy bills and about getting and keeping a job.

    The notion that restricting access to affordable energy will make us world leaders in the production of alternative technology doesn’t jibe with past experience. We are world leaders in the consumption of televisions, cell phones, and virtually all other consumer electronics, yet we import the overwhelming majority of these goods. Mandating consumption is different from stimulating domestic production.

    As Californians contemplate the energy-regulations-create-jobs theory, they might want to talk to workers in a Winchester, Virginia, light-bulb factory. In anticipation of the regulatory phase-out of conventional light bulbs, GE shut down the factory down. Retrofitting the factory to make the new bulbs was too expensive, so the replacements will come mostly from China.

    Of course, there may be some alternative sources of energy that will be cost effective in the future. Just as cars replaced horse-drawn carriages and electric lights replaced kerosene lamps (which replaced whale-oil lamps) and jetliners replaced passenger steam ships, it is likely that some new forms of energy will out-compete the old forms. If so, the developers won’t need mandates to get consumers to use them.

    Legislation outlawing ships, oil lamps, and buggies wasn’t required to develop the replacements. It certainly wouldn’t have helped to outlaw those goods before their replacements were ready.

    Cross-posted at National Journal‘s Energy and Environment Expert Blog.

    Posted in Energy [slideshow_deploy]

    4 Responses to Robust Economy Needs Affordable Energy

    1. Wayne, Fairfield, CA says:

      Wow, some common sense in an article covering Prop 23. Thank you. This is the kind of thing that would cause 23 to pass by a landslide if it was known, but No on 23 campaign's lies, misinformation, and scare tactics are making it look bleak.

      Every person that I've talked to in person, laid out both sides to, has agreed that AB 32 needs to wait, but the people who have only seen the commercials have all kinds of wrong notions about the facts.

    2. Wayne says:

      If Proposition 23 is rejected, here is what will happen according to expert sources:

      •A 60 percent increase in your electricity bill according to the Southern California Public Power Authority.

      •An 8 percent increase in your natural gas bill according to CARB’s economic analysis.

      •$50,000 more for the price of a new home according to an analysis by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

      •$3.7 billion a year more for gasoline and diesel according to Sierra Research.

      •A $1,000-$3,000 additional cost for a new car according to CARB and automaker studies.

      On top of all that, a study conducted for the California Small Business Roundtable found that AB 32 regulations would cost small business alone nearly $200 billion, and would result in more than 1 million lost jobs.

      The more I learn about AB 32, the more I fear it. It just gets worse. Please vote yes on Prop23.

      ""2 Guys on the Bay Area Transportation Board told the CARB people, "If you try to do what you are going to do(AB 32) we'll have gas at $9.07 a gallon and we have freeway tolls at up to $4,500 a year to drive during rush hour."

      "Part of the plan is to stop suburban development, get people to stop driving, make driving too expensive for people to live out there, force them to live in high-rises, condos, in the city."

      For months, John and Ken have made Prop 23 their top priority, calling it a necessary step to stop a law they say will kill jobs and cost Californians a fortune in higher gas and energy prices. With an estimated one million listeners per week, these two guys usually manage to rally enough votes to get their way.

      The video has John and Ken explaining why they think this bill is the most important measure on the ballot.


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