Going ‘green’ while going brown

Going ‘green’ while going brown

More from that file folder with the label “Novelty is not progress”:

On Monday we regaled you with the tale of California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s proposal to ban new gasoline- and diesel-powered passenger cars beginning in 2035.

We cautioned Pennsylvania policy makers against emulating such a poorly reasoned “progressive” proposal. But that’s easier implored than its counsel taken, given the Wolf administration’s blind dive into the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, better known as RGGI.

Simply put, electric vehicles have their own, significant and well-documented downsides. Think of the massive expansion of mining for the elements required to manufacture all those vehicle batteries, for one (not to mention disposal/recycling issues).

And, for two, think of electrical generation demand. As The Wall Street Journal reminds, “Energy consultants and academics say converting all passenger cars and trucks to run on electricity in California could raise power demand by 25 percent.

“That poses a major challenge for a state already facing periodic rolling blackouts as it rapidly transitions to renewable energy,” the newspaper says.

Oh, there is that. And there remains the question whether California could ever efficaciously – operationally and economically — generate enough “renewable” power to meet demand.

The early indication is it could not. But that might be the least of California’s problems in its haste to go “green” while going brown.

On Monday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency sent a letter to Newsom stating that, given updated rules, such a plan likely could not be legally implemented without its approval.

The EPA cited a dangerous strain on a power grid already considered to be in precarious shape and jurisdictional matters.  Or as EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler succinctly put it:

“California’s record of rolling blackouts—unprecedented in size and scope—coupled with recent requests to neighboring states for power begs the question of how you expect to run an electric car fleet that will come with significant increases in electricity demand, when you can’t even keep the lights on today.”

A Newsom spokesman accused the Trump administration’s EPA of attempting “to drive this country off a climate cliff.”

As, we must interject, California rounds up its “progressive” lemmings and drives them off the cliffs and into public policy purgatory.

Or as the Orange County Register headlined an August editorial on this mess of the Eco-Bureaucratic Establishment: “The blithering idiocy of California’s energy policies.”

One can only hope that Pennsylvania does not follow suit.  But given the RGGI experience thus far, we are not encouraged.

Colin McNickle is communications and marketing director at the Allegheny Institute for Public Policy (cmcnickle@alleghenyinstitute.org).