‘Welcome to hell’ says California policy expert, where Global Warming Solutions Act passed in 2006

Wikimedia Commons/Eneas De Troya

ROAD TO HELL PAVED WITH GOOD INTENTIONS: Fourteen years after passing its Global Warming Solutions Act, California is now heavily invested in green energy and experiencing rolling blackouts due to reliance on the inferior power sources.

Two leading policy experts in California, a state that passed its Global Warming Solutions Act in 2006, are calling Vermont’s pursuit of similar legislation a big mistake.

On Thursday, the Vermont House of Representatives voted to override Gov. Phil Scott’s veto of H.688, setting the stage for the Global Warming Solutions Act to become law in the Green Mountain State. The bill turns carbon emission targets into law and enables citizens to sue the state over missed targets.

Across the country in California, that state’s residents marked the 14-year anniversary their own version of the same bill last week. Californians are now experiencing rolling blackouts and the highest energy prices in the nation, and critics are blaming the state’s aggressive green policies.

“The bottom line is, welcome to hell,” Will Swaim, president of the California Policy Center, told TNR in a phone interview. “If you want to know what your future is going to look like, take a look at California. This is not the future you want.”

Swaim said after 14 years, despite elevated power rates and rolling blackouts to accommodate more renewable energy, California continues to use mostly non-renewable sources of energy. Now it just comes from out of state.

“Most of the energy we now buy isn’t renewable, it’s produced by coal and natural gas outside of California, which makes us feel much better about ourselves that Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada and Texas are all producing electricity that’s just as dirty as the stuff we would have been producing on our own,” he said. “But since it’s not actually produced here it’s just consumed here, we pretend that we’re not contributing to global climate change. It’s theatrical. It is phony.”

Vermont’s and California’s Global Warming Solutions Acts share more than just the name. The California bill sets emission targets to reduce its carbon emissions levels to 2000 levels by 2010, to 1990 levels by 2020, and to a level 80% below 1990 levels by 2050. Vermont’s requirements are 26% below 2005 carbon levels by 2025, then 40% below 1990 levels by 2030, and 80% below 1990 levels by 2050.

Both bills require a new bureaucracy to set the policies intended to reach these emission targets. In the text of the California bill, SB 32, it describes the body given this task.

“The California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 … authorizes the State Air Resources Board to adopt regulations to achieve the maximum technologically feasible and cost-effective greenhouse gas emissions reductions,” it states.

Vermont’s H.688 describes a 23-member climate council that will produce new rules.

For both states, critics describe these rule-making bodies as unaccountable to the voters. On the House Floor during a recent vote to approve the legislation, House Minority Leader Patricia McCoy, R-Poultney, stated, “I do not take lightly the responsibility of representing our citizenry and I am opposed to giving away my authority to draft a plan, write policies, and roll out a plan that will get us to our carbon emission goals.”

At about the same time, 2,500 miles away, Daniel Balcombe, a pastor for a church in Poway, California, posted that his state’s 2006 act created an “unelected bureaucracy.”

Swaim said California’s energy policy is contributing to the raging wildfires at least in part due to lacking funds to update the power utilities’ transmission lines, some of them more than a century old.

“The utilities come back and say ‘you told us that we had to invest our new income on things like solar or other renewables, you close power plants, you’re limiting our capacity to use natural gas, what are we supposed to do?'” he said.

Swaim added that green energy policies contribute to the blackouts too, including one that lasted 12 hours when the temperatures were hitting 107 degrees.

“We’ve been told here don’t use any appliances between 3 p.m. and 9 p.m. Why? Because that’s when the sun starts to go down and we have a shortage of electricity in California,” he said.

Hayden Ludwig, an investigative researcher at Capital Research Center and a native of Orange County, California, shared with True North how the GWSA is working out for them.

“Well, I can tell you that the bill has been pretty awful for Californians (speaking from experience),” he wrote in an email. “It led to creation of CA’s cap-and-trade framework, which I know VT is suffering under from RGGI [Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative].”

He says the state’s energy policies are hindering the ability to provide cheap and reliable energy to Californians.

“CA cutting itself off of the world’s most widely available, cost-effective, and efficient form of energy (natural gas and oil) for purely ideological reasons,” he wrote. “CA is a net importer of energy even though it sits on a vast reservoir of natural gas and oil. All of its solar panels and wind turbines were sold as clean and job-generating, but the truth is they’re unreliable, highly resource-intensive, and won’t replace other forms of proven energy sources.”

On Twitter, some users are associating California’s rolling blackouts with the green agenda. Jake Shields, of San Francisco, made that connection in a reply to Democratic vice-presidential candidate Kamala Harris.

Michael Bielawski is a reporter for True North. Send him news tips at bielawski82@yahoo.com and follow him on Twitter @TrueNorthMikeB.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/Eneas De Troya
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27 thoughts on “‘Welcome to hell’ says California policy expert, where Global Warming Solutions Act passed in 2006


    California: California has had a GWSA law since 2006, which resulted in:

    – Rapid increases of electric rates and gasoline prices
    – Huge DUCK-curves, due to midday solar electricity surges
    – Unwise/untimely/political/ideological shutdown of gas plants, which resulted in rolling blackouts, when, during a multi-day heat wave, solar disappearing in late-afternoon/early-evening (DURING PEAK HOURS), and not reappearing until mid-morning THE NEXT DAY, while all that time wind was minimal.
    – A host of rules, regulations, taxes, fees and surcharges, and penalties to enforce behavior modification programs

    With high levels of weather-dependent wind and solar, huge storage (multiple TWh) would be required.
    That storage would cost several trillion dollars, if materials could be found to build such capacity. It would need to cover:

    1) Single and multi-day heat waves over large areas
    2) Wind/solar lulls throughout the year, as frequently occur in New England
    3) Short-term and seasonal variations.

    The ADDITIONAL environmental impact on millions of acres with wind and solar systems, would be enormous all over the US.

    It would be much better to build millions of PASSIVHAUS-style buildings all over the US.
    They would need only 1/3 the energy of the current energy hogs.


    Vermont: For Vermont, the only thing that makes any sense is to stop “emulating” California.
    Vermont should immediately scrap GWSA, and concentrate on:

    1) Energy conservation
    2) Energy efficiency
    3) Building net-zero-energy, and energy-surplus houses and other buildings, by the thousands, each year. See Appendix
    4) Provide incentives to buy vehicles that get more than 35 mpg, EPA combined; the more above the limit, the greater the incentive.
    5) Charge annual fees, paid at time of registration, on existing and new vehicles that get less than 25 mpg, EPA combined; the more below the limit, the greater the fee.

    The above 4 items would save money for Vermonters, and make the state economy more competitive
    Most of the other energy measures are just expensively subsidized hogwash and behavior modifications that would not make one iota of difference regarding climate change.



    GWSA essentially is a big stick, wielded in a threatening manner, by Vermont’s RE interests, to hit Vermonters over the head to cough up lots of money out of their empty pockets, to implement the CEP, including highly subsidized wind and solar systems that produce expensive, weather-dependent, seasonal electricity, that would do nothing regarding climate change.

    CEP Financial Implications

    Very few legislators have any idea how much it will cost to MANDATE the implementation of the VT Comprehensive Energy Plan.

    The below CO2 emissions reductions for Phases 1, 2, and 3 are based on the VT-CEP goals, as mandated by GWSA.

    Phase 1,

    The CEP mandate:

    Reduce CO2 from 10.22 MMt, at end 2005 to 7.46 MMt, at Jan. 1, 2025, or 2.76 MMt, to “meet Paris”.

    The Council would take about a year to develop plans, which means most of 2021 would have elapsed before any action.

    EAN Plan:

    Reduce CO2 from 9.76 MMt, at end 2016, to 7.46 MMt, at Jan. 1, 2025, or 2.30 MMt, to “meet Paris”

    This article:

    Reduce CO2 from 9.02 MMt, at end 2018 (latest numbers) to 7.46 MMt, at Jan 1, 2025, or 1.56 MMt, to “meet Paris”

    This would take place during the years 2022, 2023, and 2024, effectively a 3-y period.

    The turnkey capital cost would be about 1.56/2.30 x 13.70 = $9.29 billion, or $3.10 BILLION/y. See table 1A

    Currently, Vermonters, and the VT and federal governments, spend about $200 MILLION/y, on heat pumps, electric vehicles, insulation/sealing, solar systems, wind turbine systems, grid extension/augmentation, battery systems, etc.

    Reducing such a large quantity of CO2, requires ramping up electricity generating capacity, MW, and implementing energy reduction measures, during 2021, 2022, 2023, 2024.

    Vermont would not be able to spend $3.10 BILLION/y for 3 years, i.e., the required resources far exceed what is available to Vermont.

    Mandating such build-outs, because of GWSA, would be far beyond irrational.
    Any rational engineer at the VT-DPS would agree in private, but likely would not publicly, because he would be ostracized, or out of a job.

  3. I have to get out of here. My education taxes went up over $500. this year and they are now dangling another 9% increase in front of my nose for next year. Now overriding the Governor’s veto on this Climate Bill?! Why have a Governor if these Progressives override him every time they don’t get their way. I’m not letting them abuse me like this anymore. The politicians up in Montpelier don’t care. They know another fool will take my place. It’s the cycle of life in VT.

  4. Just one correction: Vermont is not suffering under the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), because we don’t have any fossil fuel power plants. In fact, we pocket around $3 million a year from RGGI, generously (and involuntarily) sent our way by ratepayers in other states that do have coal and natural gas generation. I opposed RGGI when Gov. Douglas signed the bill, but not because it would cost Vermont ratepayers.
    I inquired why RGGI wanted Vermont in when all we did was pocket other people’s money. The answer was, the RGGI coalition wanted as many states as possible, so they were willing to let Vermont in even though we were a $3 million drain on consumers in the other states.

  5. Don’t delay. Just get out!. We did almost two years ago. To Arizona. It is incredible here. Happiest we’ve been in 30 years (VT). The heat isn’t what they make. No humidity….LOW taxes. We could AFFORD to retire a bit early because we saved $35,000 in VT taxes. No Soc Sec tax here. LOW cap gains taxes. LOW income taxes. They LOVE and want upper income folks here. They HATE YOU in VT. My PROPERTY TAXES dropped from $16,000 down to $4,200…and the AZ one is more valuable! My elec/ utility/heat total costs dropped by about $4,000 a year. NO winter heat bills…No more 20 below zero…No more snow and ice…and even with AZ summe AC high…it was only a couple months.. There is an uptick in VT, of out of state buyers because of covid. TAKE ADVANTAGE! sell. GET OUT.. Liquidity is key. If you can’t retire for a couple years, sell house and rent. Life outisde of VT Socialists/Progresives Kumbaya’s is heaven. Really! Do you have ANY idea what it is like….not to have see ANY “Bernie” bumperstickers, ever? After seeing than on nearly every car in VT for decades?

    • Now Jeff, that’s just not fair… That sound amazing! No need to rub it in for those who are stuck here!

      For real though, I’m glad you made it out. There is NO WAY I would retire here, and have been working my wife for years on an exit strategy. If Vermont doesn’t want us for anything but my money, bye!

      • Chris…The SCARY thing is about 4,000 to 5,000 Vermonters are paying 65% of ALL taxes!…the uppser incomes…they pay majority of property taxes, the majority of income taxes…and what NO ONE BREAKS OUT IS THIS….Capital Gains, Dividends and interest taxes! THOSE taxes are all lumped IN to personal income taxes. So the State BOASTS “inome” (salary) taxes are great! but in truth? The 4,000 to 5,000 Vermonters upper incomes are paying HUGE CAPITAL GAINS (not salary taxes) which are FREE and no risk to VT…all thanks to Trump policies! VT is flush (for now) BECAUSE OF TRUMP and stock market gains. But Cap Gains are NOT a recurring item, like a salary income tax is. Cap gains come and go, WHAT if 500-1,000 of these taxpayers LEAVE VT, as I did. I took ALL by taxable income with me :). you MUSt plan to get out now! It will get WORSE if Biden wins because ALL the capital gains taxes will dissappear from VT as markets decline. This will ALSO AFFECT the $4.5 billion NOT funded union pension plans. VT states they get 7.5% annual return. Lie. If markets decline their stock investments go down and then VT has to TAX you more to pay into it. YOU MUST LEAVE SOON! VT has 3-5 years left for basic solvency or a bail out…..States CANNOT declare bankruptcy, only CITIES can! That is Federal law! ‘Reality is Always The Last At Bat”….the money is NOT there for the Progressives wish lists…and the well-to-do and retiree’s will LEAVE before they get literally raped for it all. Vermont SPITS on all upper income people. WHY STAY – TO PAY FOR THEIR IDIOCY??? I am on this earth ONLY ONCE. My GOLDEN retired years are here…. NOW…..and NOT mean to pay for all the Kumbaya Hippies who run Vermont!!!

    • Amen,

      We are on year 4 of getting the heck out of Vermont. BEST financial move we have made in years. Every bit of Jeffrey’s words of wisdom are spot on. Liquidity is Key, rent if you have to.We are in our 40’s prime earning years and paid full boat property taxes. WE cut them by 80% moving out of VT.

      The toilet has been flushed. The choice is yours if you want to head to the sewer or not.

      • We escaped the Peoples’ republic of Vermont in 2014. moved to South Carolina where we gained over $1000/month in spending power. As a retired Veteran on Social security, our taxes are way down, plus the cost of living is considerably lower. And no double-digit below-zero winters. Even with an all-electric house and South Carolina summers, our electric bill is less than what we paid in VT (Plus the gas for heat and hot water).

        • We moved to the Carolina’s as well. Our disposable income as you noted increased significantly. I’ve seen numerous VT plates around recently. I don’t miss the snow one bit, and you don’t have to shovel humidity. My electricity bill in my all electric home averages about ~$130/month. That’s it. No gas bill, oil bill, etc.

    • Yes, I can tell you from being stationed in the desert (around Palm Spring, CA) it’s not the heat, it’s the humidity. A dry heat is actually kinda nice. Thanks for the heads up.

  6. Aren’t we suppose to learn from history to avoid repeating costly mistakes?

    The leaders of the Vermont legislature should have been fully aware of California’s 14 year failed experience with its GWSA before creating one for Vermont. Our legislative leaders surely must have considered past history before setting tiny Vermont on a disruptive, controversial and costly course to take on Mother Nature to end climate change.

    Perhaps Speaker Johnson, Sen. Tim Ashe or Rep. Laura Sibilia who lead the effort to override the Governor’s veto of H.688 can tell us why Vermont’s GWSA will have outcomes different than those of California and its failed experience with its climate solutions act.

    What do our leaders of the Vermont legislature know about arresting climate change that California didn’t/doesn’t know?

    Speaker Johnson, or someone in the legislature, please tell us why Vermont’s GWSA will have outcomes different than California. Tell us why Vermont isn’t going to repeat California’s mistakes.

    • You are seeking a rational, logical defense for the actions of a dogmatic religion promoted to fanatics by fanatics. Like the sixteenth century geocentric Vatican, the question is not up for debate; heretics will be demonized, silenced and cast out of their jobs. Keep in mind Biden’s Iowa State Fair speech “We choose truth over facts.” That is, we choose dogmatic truth over veridical facts. Vermont IS going to repeat California’s mistakes if the Climatoloonies have their way.

    • Some of the politicos are ignorant of the realities of GWSA, they are indoctrinated by the RE industry and busy passing on their indoctrination to the citizens. Other politicos know exactly what the real facts are, but they are bought puppets of the RE industry. All this hype and spin on renewable energy being the saviour of the planet is probably the biggest Ponzi scheme in history. If this policy is made law, there won’t be any going back economically. VT will become an economic and social black hole. It’s half way there already.

    • The trees and vegetation extracted carbon dioxide from the atmosphere; when they burn, they return it to the atmosphere. The fires are Carbon Neutral, so California doesn’t have any climatological motivation to clear brush or dead wood, create access roads or fire breaks to prevent them. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear the climatoloonies running the state have made volcanoes illegal in California – or, at the least, taxable.

      • I disagree. The idea was to keep the CO-2 OUT of the atmosphere. All of the sequestered CO-2 has been released. That is an entry on the “PLUS” side of the ledger. But then carbon dioxide is plant food, not a pollutant. the whole “carbon-neutral, greenhouse gas” routine is a sham, and a hoax, and a fraud.

  7. I pitty the folks in Vermont who victims of the most misguided ignorant idiots in Montpelier who have trashed all of its citizens with the piece of stupidity they call of all things, The Global Warming Solutions Act. If this weren’t serious stuff, it would be a huge joke. Unfortunately, it ain’t funny McGee. This will have no impact on us as we’re out of here the end of the month.

  8. ‘Welcome to ” hell’ says California policy expert !!

    Where Global Warming Solutions Act passed in 2006, fast forward to 2020
    and Vermont’s GWSA is being pushed by Liberals in the statehouse if passed
    and we are headed down the same path as Claifornia …….shameful.

    I live in Vermont, if I wanted California that’s where I be living…..No Thanks !!

    Wake up people, vote these fools out, they only care about an agenda, citizens
    are not a concern……………

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