Gov. Newsom Heads to Climate Conference in Scotland

October 28, 2021 Updated: October 28, 2021

Commentary

Next week Gov. Gavin Newsom will fly to Scotland for the United Nations’ Glasgow Climate Change Conference. With his resounding Sept. 14 recall victory in the rearview mirror and a likely re-election next year, he is riding high on the world stage. The Sacramento Bee reported more than a dozen state legislators will also be in tow.

Newsom earlier this year signed an executive order banning the sale of new gas-powered vehicles by 2035. It’s unknown how that will be enforced. And if he wins re-election next year and completes a full term, he would leave office in 2027, eight years before the order took full effect.

Most California governors or U.S. senators automatically become presidential material, and Newsom is no exception. With President Biden’s health in question, Newsom could vie with fellow Californian Vice President Kamala Harris for the Democratic Party’s 2024 nomination. Burnishing his environmental bona fides is essential to his ambitions.

Biden will also be going to Glasgow for the event, also called Conference of the Parties 26, or COP26, because it’s the 26th conference of the countries that signed the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in 1994. COP26 originally was scheduled for November 2020, but postponed due to COVID-19.

Although Harris will not be attending COP26, she will meet in Paris with President Emmanuel Macron afterwards to mend fences after the recent tiff over selling U.S. instead of French submarines to Australia. While there, CNN reported, “Harris will deliver a speech at the fourth annual Paris Peace Forum on November 11 and participate in the Paris Conference on Libya on November 12.”

Unfortunately, it looks like Chinese President Xi Jinping will not be attending COP26. Otherwise Biden and Newsom could ask the dictator why the People’s Republic of China continues to spew out more greenhouse gases than the U.S. and EU combined, as I reported on ET here and here.

Electric Vehicle Problems

A big problem for Newsom’s green plan could be the evidence mounting that battery-power cars are counterproductive for the environment. An Oct. 21, 2021 study (pdf) by the Anderson Economic Group is titled: “Comparison: Real World Cost of Fueling EVs and ICE Vehicles.” Subtitle: “Electric vehicles can be more expensive to fuel than their internal combustion engine counterparts.” ICE is internal combustion engine.

The study took account of such often overlooked costs as the cost of chargers and their installation, as well as “deadhead miles…. EV drivers incur costs of driving miles to a commercial charger for the sole purpose of charging. By comparison, there are over 100,000 gas stations in the US.”

In one example set in Michigan, “the direct monetary costs to drive 100 miles in an ICE vehicle is between $8 and $12, and in an EV is between $12 and $15.”

California also has the additional problem of antiquated electricity transmission lines coupled with new, parallel lines being put up to transmit power from recent wind and solar energy production. As CalMatters reported, “Like many other states moving forward with energy transition strategies, California is beset by a decades-old system for moving power that lacks flexibility when it’s most needed.”

California’s electricity costs are 19.9 cents per hour, compared to the national average of 13.19 cents. Rolling blackouts remain a problem. Then there are the periodic wildfires often caused by sparking power lines that ought to be put underground.

While in Scotland, Newsom might hear of the problems Germany has been having with its “Energiewende”—energy transition through decarbonization. Last winter the country was hit with a massive snowstorm. Reported World News Era in February, “Germany’s ‘Green’ Energy Failure: Germany turns back to coal and natural gas as millions of its solar panels are blanketed in snow and ice.” It’s ironic a strategy designed to combat global warming was shut down by a winter deep freeze.

Germany’s energy problem was part of a crisis gripping all the European Union. AP reported from Brussels, “European Union ministers on Tuesday held emergency talks focused on energy that did not produce immediate results amid deep divergences between the 27 member countries on how to tackle a crunch that has seen consumers’ bills skyrocket this year.”

Throughout the world, green politicians face the dilemma that consumers will go only so far in paying higher prices for green energy before revolting and electing new representatives. Given the difficulties of the Republican Party in California, it may be the Democratic Party will split in two, although not officially. Legislators representing poor, working-class areas could revolt against the elitist, Tesla-driving Bay Area environmentalists and demand lower energy costs for homes and older cars on long commutes.

Three Cheers for James Watt

Finally, it’s ironic the COP26 is being held in Glasgow. The University of Glasgow’s most famous student is James Watt, whose steam-engine innovations kicked off the industrial revolution 250 years ago. Some environmentalist groups are decrying this, even though a major result of the industrial revolution was reducing childhood mortality from about 50 percent to 1 percent.

The industrial revolution also produced all the modern conveniences we enjoy, from a global food supply that prevents famines to modern medical marvels. Like any human invention, there have been problems, including harm to the environment. But the harm should not be exaggerated. And it certainly should not be singled out apart from the immense improvement to human lives.

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

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 to California State Sen. John Moorlach. He blogs at johnseiler.substack.com