by Joel Kotkin
Friday, 2
September 2022
Debate
07:00

The Democrats’ green agenda is hurting Californians

The state faces blackouts, brownouts and water rationing this year
by Joel Kotkin
This man has no idea. Credit: Getty

The once-great state of California is now in a dire condition. With a heatwave now in full force, Governor Gavin Newsom is preparing to cut energy use, which may result in blackouts, brownouts and water rationing.

How did this happen? Ask any of the state’s legacy media, Democrats, and big green non-profits and the answer you’ll get is “climate despair”. But this does not tell us the whole story. Indeed, a key reason for California’s energy shortfall is the state’s harmful green policies; Jerry Brown’s plans to rebuild the state’s water capacity, for example, elicited a hostile green response from a state commission that refused to consider new dams or desalinisation, let alone spending money on already voter-approved new water storage projects. They are even pressuring Washington to demolish four dams in northern California for not being environmentally pure enough.

A similar dunderheadness extends to energy. For the last twenty years, the state has looked toward “green” energy — solar and wind — as the sole acceptable energy source. But despite billions spent, the state continues to struggle with the intermittent nature of solar and wind power. In order to prevent a total electricity shortfall, Governor Newsom — faced with a potentially devastating energy shortage this summer — was forced to reprieve the Diablo Canyon, the state’s last remaining nuclear plant. He has also allowed some gas plants to remain open.

Things could get worse as the state seeks to go all-electric in the next decade, with the elimination of gas powered cars by 2035. Yet there is little consideration into how California will be able to satisfy the rising demand for the electricity that EVs require. This, remember, in a state that already faces regular power shortages (California imports over 30% of its energy from other locations, and it is by far the nation’s largest net electrical-importing state).

By 2050, state consultants estimate that electrification mandates, including those for trucks, will cause total demand to skyrocket to about 500 million megawatt hours, with some estimates of demand rising 60 to 90%. This will impose high energy costs on ordinary Californians, while Wall Street and tech oligarchs profit from their “clean energy” investments. Incredibly, California is a state with enormous energy reserves, but it refuses to access them on environmental grounds. As a result, it is the largest US importer of energy and oil, much of it from Saudi Arabia and before that Russia.

Most Californians won’t freeze like the Germans or Brits this winter, but the state’s climate policies will keep costs higher, chase away business and immiserate much of the population. This is a tragedy for a state that pioneered modern agriculture, semiconductors, and space travel, but it is the inevitable result of the biggest man-made disaster of them all: Democrats’ green policies.

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Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
2 months ago

The trucks thing is completely daft, since usable heavy long distance electric road freight vehicles don’t even exist.

On the other hand, by 2050 all the politicians pushing this will have left office, if not the planet, so what do they care?

George K
George K
2 months ago

Brendan, we have had electric trucks silently being tested on US highways for a few years now. At least three companies will market them soon. The three Western states have agreed to put truck charging stations every 50 miles from border to border on US 5.

Steve Elliott
Steve Elliott
2 months ago

Here we go again!

Philip Stott
Philip Stott
2 months ago
Reply to  Steve Elliott

He really does seem to have issues with Hispanics doesn’t he!

Ben Hekster
Ben Hekster
2 months ago

Can we finally stop pretending that this is all unforseen and unintentional? Our state government is clearly knowingly instigating these multi-front crises as the pretext for their ultimate goal: total control

George K
George K
2 months ago
Reply to  Ben Hekster

Look up Ocean Acidification.

Brian Villanueva
Brian Villanueva
2 months ago

I live here in CA.
Gov Newsome last Tuesday: “California will be the first in the nation to eliminate gas powered cars, requiring all new cars to be electric.”
Gov Newsome on Friday: “The heat wave is causing me to declare a power emergency and asking all Californians not to charge their electric cars.”
I am paraphrasing, but no, I’m not making it up. You can’t even make up this level of absurdity.

James Stangl
James Stangl
2 months ago

And if Jay Inslee, the governor of WA state and Newsom wannabe has his way, that energy-rich state (hydroelectric power) will follow CA down the green rabbit hole.

And no, you truly can’t make up this level of absurdity, or stupid.

George K
George K
2 months ago
Reply to  James Stangl

Those of you not in the business or without significant education in this field, or both, are wrong. Our PV system on the roof paid back in three years in gasoline replacement alone with the EVs.
You are against what you do not know.

Tony Price
Tony Price
2 months ago

Commenting from the UK, I have no knowledge of ‘green’ efforts in California but have picked up information that lets me to surmise that there is a massive amount you could do to reduce dependance on the electricity grid. California is, by and large, a hot and sunny state; how many homes have solar panels to run their air-con units? In Crete, for example, almost every house has a solar panel and water tank on the roof or in the garden – how many Calif homes have that, or an air-source heat pump, to heat up water? I believe that US toilet cisterns hold way more water than European ones – if that’s true, why not regulate to reduce? Are there planning regulations to halt building in arid regions with limited water supply? Just some thoughts from across the pond!

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
2 months ago
Reply to  Tony Price

Fine suggestion, but the population of Crete, which is a small island, is about 630,000. The population of Los Angles County, alone, is over 10 million and is situated on West coast of the North American continent. The state of California has a population of 40 million. 17% of them live in poverty, yet will be told to simply drive electric vehicles someday soon. The governor of that state is a modern day Marie Antionette.

Gary Hemminger
Gary Hemminger
2 months ago
Reply to  Tony Price

Your comment is about a decade old. Huge amount of solar panels and toilets already are low flush about a decade ago. This isn’t the problem. The problem is the state has grown from 20M to 40M since 1970 and have built no additional water storage or electricity generation in 50 years. And the state is overrun with homeless, addiction and poverty. More poverty here in California than Mississippi for gods sakes. Rampant drug use and some of the major cities give drugs away to people for free.

Brett H
Brett H
2 months ago

“Hispanics consistently give a majority of their votes to politicians who damaged the quality of life in California.”
Oh what a dirty little game you play.
Even if it’s true that the majority of Hispanic votes go to the wrong politicians, that does not account for the rest of the vote. 40% of residents of California are Hispanics (Assuming you’re correct), including children. The majority vote wrong: so maybe 60% of the Hispanic vote, which is voters only, not all hispanics, supports the wrong politicians. Hardly a powerful majority.
Don’t remove him, let him stay so we can see what fools they are.

Last edited 2 months ago by Brett H
Gary Hemminger
Gary Hemminger
2 months ago

Keep voting for Democrats and this is what you get. At least with Republicans you can keep your energy, transportation and food infrastructure and maybe even not have as many wildfires. Republicans just sound bad when they talk. Democrats sound wonderful but make us all poorer on their journey to utopia.

George K
George K
2 months ago
Reply to  Gary Hemminger

Would utopia be like having clean free power for the household and electric cars? I have it, since the PV system paid back four years ago.

Brett H
Brett H
2 months ago

Please address: why has my comment disappeared?

M. M.
M. M.
2 months ago

Joel Kotkin wrote, “The once-great state of California is now in a dire condition.”

The residents of a state (or country) are responsible for its quality of life.

Some demographic groups deserve more blame than other groups for a deteriorating quality of life. In California, we can identify the groups to blame by using the following 3-step process.

1. Identify a ruinous government policy.
2. Identify the politicians who created the policy (in step 1), promoted it, or voted for it.
3. Identify the ethnic or racial groups who gave a majority of their votes to the politicians in step 2.

Using the above steps, we can easily determine that Hispanics consistently give a majority of their votes to politicians who damaged the quality of life in California. The high taxes, the excessive regulation, high rate of crime, etc. are due to Hispanics.

Hispanics are 40% of Californian residents (and outnumber the other 3 demographic groups) and deserve most of the blame for wrecking Californian society. “Open borders” greatly swelled the number of Hispanics in California and its electorate.

Get more info about this issue.

Last edited 2 months ago by Matthew M.
Brett H
Brett H
2 months ago
Reply to  M. M.

Why are responding comments to this disappearing?

Brett H
Brett H
2 months ago
Reply to  M. M.

Your maths are lousy.

Brett H
Brett H
2 months ago
Reply to  M. M.

Does this post represent the magazine and it’s readers? Not one comment on it or a negative thumbs down.

Brett H
Brett H
2 months ago
Reply to  M. M.

“Open borders” greatly swelled the number of Hispanics in California and its electorate.”
But these people don’t vote, do they?

Brett H
Brett H
2 months ago
Reply to  M. M.

“The residents of a state (or country) are responsible for its quality of life.”
In all countries?

Brett H
Brett H
2 months ago
Reply to  M. M.

“The high taxes,”
For who?

Brett H
Brett H
2 months ago
Reply to  M. M.

“The state’s likely voters are disproportionately white: according to US Census estimates, whites make up 41% of the state’s adult population, but our surveys find that they comprise 55% of the state’s likely voters. Latinos—California’s largest racial/ethnic group—represent 35% of the adult population, but they account for only 21% of those most likely to vote.” 
https://www.ppic.org/publication/race-and-voting-in-california/

Last edited 2 months ago by Brett H
George K
George K
2 months ago

Who denies we need these green policies? I want to debate the science with them.

Leesha Arason
Leesha Arason
2 months ago
Reply to  George K

I deny we need these green policies when we don’t have the infrastructure to support them! So let’s debate that. George, my Southern CA Edison (SCE) electricity rates have gone up 20-25% since last year (!!!) and they were already at a national high. I love Brian V’s comment, above, because that sums up exactly what was said by Newsom!! Give me AFFORDABLE electricity and I’m happy to switch over everything (except my stove, lol). But the state doesn’t have a plan to provide that. Currently, California is creating an energy crises to push its agenda, and the people it’s hurting are the lower and middle-class. Why?