Environmental Shenanigans

Editorial

ampoule times;”>By Gregory J. Welborn

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Xi Jinping and Barack Obama Photo: whitehouse.gov

President Obama’s policies lost big in the mid-term U.S. elections, so he decided to take them on a road show to China where he hopes to get a bit more mileage out of his quickly fading public image. The President chose not to press the Chinese to address North Korean human rights abuses, to help fight against ISIS or to remove their support for the mad Mullahs who still want a bomb in Iran. He chose instead to let the Chinese agree to a one-sided environmental accord which will not solve any of the world’s many pressing problems, does not require anything from China, but does allow the man, myth and legend of Barack Obama to look impressive back home.

The environmental accord President Obama signed with Supreme Leader Xi Jinping is nonbinding and only elicits from China the promise “to intend to achieve the peaking of CO2 emissions around 2030”. In other words, the agreement will not in any way impose a burden on the world’s second largest emitter of carbon dioxide, let alone rope India into the deal. But the agreement does allow the president to posture that he has accomplished a lofty goal of saving the world from the horrors of a big oil and big coal.

If the only details of the agreement were vague promises, there wouldn’t be much harm in this global theater. But the U.S. is reciprocating China’s vague promises with an actual commitment to cut U.S. emissions by as much as 28% below 2005 levels. As several economic analysts have pointed out, this implies doubling the pace of emission reductions below the level President Obama already set in 2009. To achieve this, the Obama EPA is readying its own tsunami of new regulations which will increase the burdens on U.S energy producers, reduce energy supplies and drive up the cost of electric power. All of these will hinder American economic growth and contribute to our still-significant unemployment problem.

For an example of the economic harm that will be done, we can look in our own backyard for an excellent representative example.

The great recession of 2008-09 and the weak recovery since has been a national experience and a result of the liberal policy mix of the Obama administration. Consequently, the poverty rate among the nation’s 52 largest metropolitan areas increased 7%, with one-quarter of that increase occurring since the “recovery” began. But the increase in poverty has not been evenly felt across the country. Here in Los Angeles County, our poverty rate has increased 80% higher than the national average, according to Joel Kotkin at Chapman University. Right behind us is the Inland Empire. We now rank 47th out of 52 metropolitan areas.

Los Angeles and the Inland Empire have historically been the most dependent of all California counties on manufacturing and logistics industries. They have thus been most susceptible to the effects of our state’s misguided environmental and land use policies. California has among the most draconian of environmental laws in the country, and the effect of those restrictions and taxes on energy production has hit manufacturing hardest. Countless are the companies who have moved their production facilities outside of California to states which have more realistic laws and reasonable energy costs. With the loss of production facilities has come the loss of decent jobs and opportunities for upward mobility. In a phrase: more poverty and less mobility.

Just as there is competition among businesses, there is competition among counties, states and nations. If one county raises taxes, we should expect businesses to gradually relocate to counties with lower tax rates. If one state raises the regulatory burden or increases energy costs, we should expect businesses to gradually relocate to states with lower burdens and costs. And, if one country imposes greater hardship and restrictions than another country, we should expect businesses to gradually relocate facilities and jobs overseas.

This is, as they say, not rocket science. The smaller the difference, or the longer the lead time to design, build and start a new production facility, the more gradual paperwork-1will be the transition. Be we shouldn’t mistake speed for direction. The unmistakable direction for Southern California primarily, and all of California generally, has been backwards: from the state of opportunity to the state of desolation – all because of terribly misguided Liberal environmental policies.

If President Obama has his way, the U.S. will abide by the reductions in energy use to which he has committed in this most recent agreement with China. The rest of the world – and most specifically China – will not abide by these rules and regulations. The cost of manufacturing and transporting goods in America will rise above the costs in countries that have not signed this agreement, and will rise above the costs in China which won’t lift a finger to enforce one sentence in this agreement. To believe that China will actually move to meet its vague promises in this environmental agreement is to believe that China will willingly commit their citizenry to their current poor economic living standard. This is absurd. China’s survival as a nation and more importantly, the Communist Party’s survival as a ruling party, depend on economic growth, which depends on cheap and abundant energy. They will not do anything to impede that.

President Obama has put himself back on the front page – has made himself appear relevant to the world again – but he has not solved a single significant world problem. The more dangerous aspect of the president’s actions in China is that he has saddled America with yet another burden to impoverish the masses. Those he claims to care most about will pay the greatest burden should this Chinese-American energy pact actually be enforced.

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Gregory J. Welborn is a freelance writer and has spoken to several civic and religious organizations on cultural and moral issues. He lives in the Los Angeles area with his wife and 3 children and is active in the community. He can be reached [email protected]/5l.com

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