An August 26 article posted by the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) praises the goals to virtually eliminate carbon dioxide emissions from energy use contained California Assembly Bill (AB1395), the Climate Crisis Act. The praise is unwarranted. Research indicates, not only would the “net zero” goals be virtually impossible to obtain, but the attempt to meet such a goal will carry steep costs. From the article,

“[T]he California State Senate Appropriations Committee moved the Climate Crisis Act (AB 1395), co-authored by Assembly Members Al Muratsuchi and Cristina Garcia, off of the suspense file to the Senate floor for debate,” writes EDF. “The bill would codify California’s commitment to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible and no later than 2045. Additionally, the bill includes provisions to ensure that California directly reduces emissions 90% below 1990 levels by 2045.”

High costs of living, including high energy costs resulting from laws raising the price of reliable, relatively inexpensive fossil fuels and restricting their use, are among the reasons many Californians have cited for making an exodus from the state to states with more affordable living costs.

Research indicates, California’s attempts to hit net zero carbon dioxide emissions will increase energy costs and the costs of living in the state even more. As the saying goes, “As California goes, so goes the nation.” Should the federal government try to impose net zero emissions policies, research shows everyone will be paying more for virtually everything.

Proof of this comes from a new, oddly named study published in Nature, titled “The surprisingly inexpensive cost of state-driven emission control strategies.” The authors of the study suggests the quest for net-zero will cost each American more than $11,000 every year by 2050. One wonders how the authors could possibly think $11,000 per year is “surprisingly inexpensive” for the average American.

That $11,000 figure is about a thousand times more expensive than what Americans are willing to pay to affect “climate change”, according to a multiple recent polls. Figure 1 below shows the increased costs the authors of the Nature study calculate American’s will have to pay as policies are implemented to reach net zero emissions.

Figure 1. Cost per American citizen to achieve net zero versus the percentage of emission reductions. Graph by Bjorn Lomborg from his Facebook page.

The new Nature study estimates a national, uniform climate policy to reduce emissions 80 percent, still 20% from net-zero, will cost 5.6% of U.S. GDP ($2.1 trillion per year).

Making Americans pay $11,000 a year on to reduce emissions to net zero is unjustified based on what the science says about the causes and reliably estimated consequences of climate change. Trying to cut emissions 90 percent below 1990 levels isn’t California dreaming, it’s an economic nightmare.

Anthony Watts is a senior fellow for environment and climate at The Heartland Institute. Watts has been in the weather business both in front of, and behind the camera as an on-air television meteorologist since 1978, and currently does daily radio forecasts. He has created weather graphics presentation systems for television, specialized weather instrumentation, as well as co-authored peer-reviewed papers on climate issues. He operates the most viewed website in the world on climate, the award-winning website


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