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AB 32’s “Political Symbolism with Consequences” (Will California vote for recovery?)

By Daniel Simmons -- October 18, 2010

Many Californians are concerned about the continuing economic viability of the Golden State, especially with the impending implementation of the California Global Warming Solutions Act, also known as AB (Assembly Bill) 32. The goal of the act is to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, through a program administered and enforced by the California Air Resources Board (CARB).

Almost all economic modeling of GHG emissions regulations find that the costs of such programs outweigh their benefits. The estimates have come from a wide spectrum of organizations, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Energy Information Administration, Brookings Institution, consulting-firm Charles River Associates, and others.

Contrary to the economic consensus, CARB has gone the other direction and argues that command-and-control and cap-and-trade will so increase the efficiency of energy use that Californians will benefit substantially by 2020.…