Commentary: Candor needed on emssions plan

This editorial appeared in The Sacramento Bee.

Ever since he signed California's 2006 law to reduce emissions linked to global warming, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has made the transition sound startlingly easy.

A 30 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020? No problem. Bring on the hydrogen-powered Hummers, the geothermal-powered Jacuzzis and the solar-powered plasma televisions.

There is no need for sacrifice or higher energy prices in Schwarzenegger's vision of a low-carbon future.

"It's all about technology, because we all know that the guilt trip that we have put on people has not worked, to tell them that they should not use the Jacuzzi, or the big, large plasma TV," the governor said in a speech last month.

Sadly, this overly optimistic view of the world has crept into the "scoping plan" that the California Air Resources Board is expected to vote on today to implement the state's global warming law.

The plan, a mixture of regulations and market mechanisms aimed at reducing emissions to 1990 levels in a mere 12 years, underestimates the possible costs involved in transforming the state's modes of transportation, its energy sources and its industries, according to several economists who peer-reviewed the document.

To read the complete editorial, visit The Sacramento Bee.