Energy Unreality Grips California, Not the World

By John Seiler
John Seiler
John Seiler
John Seiler is a veteran California opinion writer. He has written editorials for The Orange County Register for almost 30 years. He is a U.S. Army veteran and former press secretary for California state Sen. John Moorlach. He blogs at
January 26, 2023Updated: January 26, 2023


One of the themes in my Epoch Times columns is that a large part of what’s wrong with California is the politicians’ oversized belief in the importance of the state, and of themselves. They keep saying the state soon will be the fourth largest global economy, surpassing Great Britain and Germany, when it’s just a subsection of the U.S. economy.

And even at that, fourth largest isn’t all that remarkable. The state’s GDP was $3.6 trillion in 2022. But that was just 3.5 percent of the $101.6 trillion global economy. Not that impressive.

Given the state’s many problems publicized globally—homelessness, people leaving, high taxes, ludicrous housing prices—the whole world, to turn a 1960s hippy phrase, is not watching.

Yet the California Air Resources Board’s “About” page maintains:

CARB is charged with protecting the public from the harmful effects of air pollution and developing programs and actions to fight climate change. From requirements for clean cars and fuels to adopting innovative solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, California has pioneered a range of effective approaches that have set the standard for effective air and climate programs for the nation, and the world.

This and other state environmental policies remain guided by Assembly Bill 32, the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, which Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into law that year. The name of the bill occurred just before the climate alarmists changed their pet phrase to “climate change.” The bill imposed various draconian reductions in greenhouse gas emissions that have contributed to making the state more expensive.

AB 32’s actual language enthused:

The program established by this division will continue this tradition of environmental leadership by placing California at the forefront of national and international efforts to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. … National and international actions are necessary to fully address the issue of global warming. However, action taken by California to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases will have far-reaching effects by encouraging other states, the federal government, and other countries to act.

That was 17 years ago. What’s going on now?

German Coal

For starters, the Russian invasion of Ukraine led to European Union sanctions against Russian energy imports. But people still need energy. In Germany, they’re going back to coal—the dirtiest form of energy production. AP reported Jan. 11, “Police start clearing German village condemned for coal mine”:

Some stones and fireworks were thrown as officers entered the tiny hamlet of Luetzerath, which has become a flashpoint of debate over the country’s climate efforts, on Wednesday morning. …

Environmentalists say bulldozing the village to expand the nearby Garzweiler coal mine would result in huge amounts of greenhouse gas emissions. The government and utility company RWE argue the coal is needed to ensure Germany’s energy security.

Further protests on Jan. 17 were led by global activist Greta Thunberg, who briefly was detained by the polizei.

After the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan in 2011, the German government of Chancellor Angela Merkel began shutting down the country’s nuclear plants—so that’s not an option, either.

Indian Coal

Meanwhile, over in India—currently the world’s fifth largest economy, about the same as California’s GDP, but growing much faster—the Hindustani Times reported Jan. 17:

India’s power utilities will likely boost coal imports this year to cope with surges in demand, made worse over the past year by extreme temperatures, and with freight bottlenecks that are disrupting domestic coal supplies, analysts and officials said.

A steady rise in industrial electricity use in recent years has left utilities in India, one of the world’s fastest growing major economies and the second-largest coal consumer and importer, with limited leeway to confront extraordinary demand or hiccups in supply.

PRC Coal

Then there’s the People’s Republic of China, roughly equal to the United States’ GDP. reported Jan. 17:

China produced a record amount of coal last year although output ended the year with a decline amid the latest surge in covid infections.

Total output for the year reached 4.496 billion tons, which was a 9-percent increase on 2021, according to official statistics data reported by Reuters.

Chinese government officials said in March last year that the country will continue to maximize coal use as it prioritizes energy security. This is very much what Europe did, too, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, as gas prices soared sky-high and they were no longer guaranteed.

It doesn’t sound like the Chinese Communist Party has been studying AB 32. The CCP recently ended its Zero COVID policy. And on Jan. 17 at the World Economic Forum shindig in Davos, Vice-Premier Liu He announced: “Foreign investments are welcome in China, and the door to China will only open up further.”

That was from a Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply article, which added:

China has resumed imports of Australian coal after a three-year halt and analysts believe it may well enjoy a post-pandemic consumption boom as did western countries – intensifying demand for commodities.

China’s lifting of restrictions could push demand for oil and liquefied natural gas to an all-time high at a time when price caps on Russian energy exports could hinder supply.

‘There Is No Climate Crisis’

Finally, there is a new science paper by Dr. Wallace Manheimer, who holds a physics PhD from MIT and has had a 50-year career in nuclear research, including work at the Plasma Physics Division at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory. It’s in the recent issue of the Journal of Sustainable Development, published by the Canadian Center of Science and Education. The title: “While the Climate Always Has and Always Will Change, There Is no Climate Crisis.”

The abstract is worth reading in full:

The emphasis on a false climate crisis is becoming a tragedy for modern civilization, which depends on reliable, economic, and environmentally viable energy. The windmills, solar panels and backup batteries have none of these qualities.

This falsehood is pushed by a powerful lobby which Bjorn Lomborg has called a climate industrial complex, comprising some scientists, most media, industrialists, and legislators. It has somehow managed to convince many that CO2 in the atmosphere, a gas necessary for life on earth, one which we exhale with every breath, is an environmental poison.

Multiple scientific theories and measurements show that there is no climate crisis. Calculations by both skeptics and believers show that the carbon dioxide radiation forcing is about 0.3% of the incident radiation, far less than other effects on climate.

Over the period of human civilization, the temperature has oscillated between quite a few warm and cold periods, with many of the warm periods being warmer than today. During geological times, it and the carbon dioxide level have been all over the place with no correlation between them.


I’m wondering how not just California, but the United States, is supposed to compete industrially with China if our industries are crippled by counterproductive “global warming” policies. As the Ukraine war also is showing, industrial war is not a thing of the past, but of the present. Unless that war goes nuclear—God forbid—it’s being fought by men and machines: tanks, planes, ships, artillery, guns, rockets, ammunition. Intelligence, in which the U.S. leads the world, certainly is crucial. But what do you do with that intelligence if you don’t have the proper industrial base to produce the necessary armamentarium?

I suspect the Ukraine war, as well as tensions with the PRC over Taiwan, will produce a rethinking among America’s elites that the U.S. economy needs to be based on more than Silicon Valley’s digital algorithms. That shifting so much industrial production to China and elsewhere maybe wasn’t such a hot idea. That maybe our universities should start turning out more engineers and scientists in the place of critical race theory ideologues in the humanities departments.

And maybe that AB 32 and other “climate change” nostrums were but passing delusions.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

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