California Heat Wave/Black Outs Highlight Flawed “Green” Policies

California is suffering a major heatwave with temperatures coming in at significantly over 100 degrees. Compounding the danger is the unfortunate reality that California’s electricity capacity – arguably the most “green” in the nation – can’t handle the demand needed to run the air conditioning. California Governor Gavin Newsom admitted that California’s extreme shift to renewable energy sources is at the root of the current crisis.

As reported by Deadline, “Newsom pointed to California’s shift to renewable resources as part of the reason for the supply shortage. Shutting down polluting gas power plants has created gaps in the state’s energy supply, he said.” And, as the Wall Street Journal reported, “The grid strain was particularly acute in recent days as cloud cover reduced solar production in Southern California.” 

Though deaths caused by the current heatwave are not yet being reported, several stories cite statistics from a similar heat wave in 2006 that officially caused the deaths of between 130 and 450 people, depending upon which source you believe. And, rolling blackouts eliminating people’s air conditioning did not occur in 2006.

California’s plight highlights the major flaw in the “green” energy policy: reducing carbon emissions doesn’t stop the climate from changing, but it does hamper – in cases like this severely – humans’ ability to adapt. A cautionary tale for Vermonters about to consider passing The Global Warming Solutions Act with its greenhouse gas reduction mandates, which are modeled largely on California’s.

If you really believe that the climate is going to change rapidly in ways that threaten human existence, California shows that achieving an abundance of cheap, reliable energy is a far more important goal right now than reducing emissions.

- Rob Roper is president of the Ethan Allen Institute

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