There's good and bad news from an annual assessment on the Golden State's economy and environment. Gross domestic product per capita increases as emissions per capita decrease, with the major exception of emissions from transportation.
It's a classic paradox, observes David R. Baker for the San Francisco Chronicle: bigger, thirstier vehicles sell better than smaller, more efficient ones, while the market for battery-powered vehicles, especially Teslas, also increases.
Two market-based programs add about a quarter to every gallon of fuel purchased in the Golden State, but don't expect to see the prices listed anywhere. Furthermore, costs to comply with the Low Carbon Fuel Standard are expected to increase.
It is possible to achieve state-mandated global warming reduction goals after all. The nation's first such goal, signed into law by Republican governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2006, called for reducing emissions to 1990 levels by 2020.
While battery-power doesn't appear practical, electricity from fuel cells does. The nation's first fuel cell-powered ferry will be operating in San Francisco Bay next year thanks in part to a $3 million grant from the California Air Resources Board.
The investment comes not from the state legislature but from two regulatory bodies, the Air Resources Board and the Public Utilities Commission, authorizing the expenditure of VW settlement funds and utility ratepayer funds, respectively.
San Francisco Chronicle energy reporter David R. Baker sheds some light on the nation's first state building code requiring that solar panels be included in new home construction, adopted by the California Energy Commission on May 9.
But only if you drive a Tesla. Unlike a traditional "fill-up," charging an EV takes time—30 minutes for Tesla Superchargers—so Tesla provides an exclusive lounge for its customers at a new 40-Supercharger "rest stop" on I-5 in California.
With speculation that downed power lines and exploding transformers may have caused California's most deadly and destructive wildfires, many question why utility companies don't bury these lines through fire-prone areas.
Eying European and Asian countries that have set, or are considering timelines to ban sales of cars that emit greenhouse gases, the California governor asked his chief air regulator to see why California couldn't follow suit.
Gov. Jerry Brown, accompanied by former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, signed legislation to continue the cap-and-trade program initially authorized under a bill signed by his Republican predecessor 11 years ago at the same Treasure Island location.
The nation's only state-run, market-based program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions will continue until 2031 without fear of litigation, as it passed with the required two-thirds supermajority needed for tax increases, along with two related bills.
Caling the upcoming vote on AB 398, which has created strange political bedfellows, "the most important vote of your life," Gov. Jerry Brown cast the decision as choosing between "massive new regulations" and market-based mechanisms.
Sometimes market-based systems don't work as intended. This appears to be the case with the California Air Resources Board's program of awarding credits to zero emission and near zero emission vehicles. Tesla's success is bad for the market.