Commentary: Big gaps in greenhouse gas plan

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is a proponent of the all-gain-and-no-pain school of public policy, especially when he peddles the notion that California can radically reduce its greenhouse gases while reaping immense economic benefits.

Schwarzenegger's Air Resources Board, or CARB, is poised this week to implement his vision by adopting far-reaching policies aimed at reducing the state's emissions of carbon dioxide.

It amounts to a huge wager, involving countless billions of public and private dollars, on an outcome that will only become apparent many years after Schwarzenegger has left the Capitol. And it's coming amid what may be the worst economic recession since the Great Depression.

Simply put, Schwarzenegger wants to bet that by embracing greenhouse gas reduction, California will be ensuring its economic future. But if he's wrong, he could be saddling the state's residents and businesses with enormous costs that would make it an economic wasteland, incapable of attracting investment capital.

CARB appears bent on acting even though some very credible analyses – including those by distinguished economists whose input was solicited by the state – are finding serious fault with CARB's "scoping plan" to reduce California's carbon output to 1990 levels under Assembly Bill 32.

To read the complete column, visit The Sacramento Bee.