California Dreaming

Maryland’s environmentalists consider California their model exemplar of environmental policy. However, the Golden State is losing its sheen.

California ranked among the top 10 states for one-year increases in carbon-dioxide pollution from power plants in 2007, an environmental group said Monday.

“I was surprised to see California on the list given the state is a leading advocate of cutting carbon dioxide,” said Eric Schaeffer, director of the non-profit Environmental Integrity Project in Washington, D.C. The growth in emissions from California power plants — from 37.8 million tons in 2006 to 42.5 million tons in 2007 — probably reflects growth in electricity demand in the state, Schaeffer said.

Notice that the increased emissions came from increased demand for electricity. The key here is that California’s demand side management programs don’t work. They can only go so far, and there is a real limit on the amount of GHG emissions reductions from power plants that you can impose without real trouble. California’s nuclear plants run full bore continuously, hydroelectric is only available in the spring, and renewables are non-dispatchable. What is left to satisfy demand when it goes up? Gas and coal fired power.

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If darling California can’t control GHG emissions from its power plants because of demand spikes, with all that non-greenhouse gas power available, how is Maryland supposed to do this?

In fact going by the same EIP analysis Maryland ranks fairly low in both CO2 emissions and intensity (tons per megawatt hour). Maryland ranks 33 and 28 respectively.

Now keep in mind that Maryland already is part of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). RGGI commits Maryland to a 10% reduction in total power plant CO2 emissions from an average of 2004, 2005 and 2006 baseline years by 2020. This itself is no easy task and comes with a high price tag.

Maryland, already has low CO2 power plant emissions, and is already committed to reduce them through the RGGI. The Global Warming Solutions Act is idiotic piling on that will only serve to further increase energy costs, destroy jobs and tank the economy.

crossposted on The Main Adversary

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