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California's Zero Carbon Plans: Can Anybody Here Do Basic Arithmetic?


Manhattan Contrarian by Francis Menton  May 11, 2021

In California, as we all know, the inhabitants and their elected officials are far more sophisticated and virtuous than the rest of us rubes who inhabit the other parts of the country.  This particularly goes for the arena of climate change, where California is leading the way to saving the planet by rapidly eliminating all of the carbon emissions coming from its electricity sector.  California’s CO2 emissions are about 1% of the world annual total, and its electricity sector accounts for about 15% of those emissions, so we’re talking here about approximately 0.15% of world emissions — an amount whose elimination, as you can easily see, will rapidly transform the world’s climate.

In 2018 California enacted a law known as SB100, which mandates a 100% carbon-emissions-free electricity sector by 2045.   But how to get from here to there?  That question was finally answered in March of this year, when the California state agencies responsible for achieving the goal (California Energy Commission, California Public Utilities Commission, and California Air Resources Board) issued a Joint Agency Report and accompanying Summary Document setting forth their Plans.  The Plans can be accessed via this link.

The Plans show that the California regulators have absolutely no idea what they are doing.  Perhaps I am wrong.  I invite all readers to check me and see if I am missing something.  But I don’t think so.  Either these people do not understand the basic units used for these calculations, or they cannot do basic arithmetic, or both.  In their projection of incremental costs, I think they are off by a factor of about 1000 or more. 



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