Ukraine War Sabotaging California’s Green Agenda

June 22, 2022 Updated: June 22, 2022

Commentary

Gov. Gavin Newsom likes to declare California as a “nation-state,” with the world’s fifth-largest economy. But the Ukraine War’s sabotage of the state’s Green Agenda belies that boast. Foreign policy is still conducted by the U.S. president and the State Department, and military policy by the Department of Defense.

The California National Guard has been training Ukrainian troops since 1993, according to the National Guard site; the .mil suffix shows it’s run by the Pentagon.

The site explained, “Ukraine became a charter member of the U.S. National Guard Bureau’s State Partnership Program along with Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, North Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia. Each country was paired with a state, and Ukraine paired with California.

“U.S. officials believed that pairing with state National Guards made more sense than pairing with active-duty forces, said a National Guard official.”

Turning to the ongoing war itself, like all American forces, the California National Guard is not directly involved in the fighting, but continues to help with support.

Yet the war is wreaking havoc on California’s environmental goals. These goals include eliminating 91 percent of the state’s oil use and becoming “carbon neutral” by 2045, according to the California Air Resource Board’s Draft 2022 Scoping Plan Update (pdf), released on May 10, 2022.

More Oil Drilling, Coal Burning

As President Biden keeps insisting, the war, including U.S. embargoes on Russian oil imports, has contributed to price inflation—although most inflation actually began before the Feb. 24 start of the war. Gas prices have doubled since he came into office.

That, in turn, has encouraged new oil drilling across America, indeed the world. It’s true some oil use has declined, as families and businesses can’t afford as much gas and diesel as they once did. But people still need to get to work, and businesses still need to make and take deliveries.

CNBC reported June 16, “Environmental groups sue Biden to block 3,500 oil and gas drilling permits.” Despite that, Reuters reported June 17, “U.S. drillers add oil and gas rigs for second week in a row.”

Meanwhile, the New York Times headlined a June 2 story, “OPEC Plus agrees to a bigger increase in oil supply. But prices keep rising.” Subhead, “The oil producers said they would raise by 50 percent a planned production increase, after U.S. lobbying to ease price pressures.” More sales at higher prices means a bonanza for oil-producing countries, including Russia.

Most of this production will not be conducted under the exacting environmental standards of U.S. production. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has no authority over foreign countries.

Countries also need replacements for the lost oil and natural gas from the war. Deutsche Welle, the main German broadcasting company, reported June 19, “Germany to fire up coal plants as Russia turns down the gas.”

The story: “Germany must limit its use of gas for electricity production and prioritize the filling of storage facilities to compensate for a drop in supply from Russia, Economy Minister Robert Habeck said Sunday. In a move that goes against the principles of his environmentally friendly Green Party, the country will also have to increase the burning of coal, Habeck said.”

And there’s this, from Yale Environment 360: “The European Union relies heavily on Russia to supply nickel and other metals for electric vehicle batteries and other renewable technologies. War-related price increases and shortages of these metals could hinder Europe’s drive to sharply cut emissions by 2030 and beyond.

“[S]ales of nearly 100,000 battery electric models in the first quarter landed it behind only Tesla, but far from the pace needed for the 700,000 it planned to roll off its assembly lines this year. And Tesla, too, like almost all other EV carmakers, says it is highly unlikely to hit 2022’s sales targets.”

So much for California meeting Newsom’s order for all vehicles to be zero-emission vehicles by 2035. Unless we’ll be pulling rickshaws carrying state bureaucrats.

Conclusion: Reality Kicks In

The Western States Petroleum Association has been kicking back against further regulation of their overregulated industry. President and CEO Catherine Reheis-Boyd specifically has mentioned the Ukraine War:

“We share the deep sadness and shock so many people around the world feel about Russia’s war on Ukraine. While there are many geo-political and domestic policy concerns that have been created by this aggression, we believe there is no more important work at this time than supporting and caring for all the people affected and afflicted by the war. We are grateful for those engaged in this effort.”

An old U.S. Senator from Illinois, Everett Dirksen, liked to say: When they feel the heat, they’ll see the light. California Legislators now are hearing from their constituents on gas prices soaring to $7 a gallon and above. They’re starting to see the light.

California is not a nation state. What happens here has little influence on what goes on in the rest of the world. The Ukraine War is the biggest geopolitical event since the end of the Soviet Union in 1991. It is causing global shortages, leading to increased oil drilling, followed by more greenhouse gas emissions—not to mention the immense pollution caused by the conduct of the war.

California’s eco-agenda’s only real result is making the state’s citizens poorer and more miserable, forcing hundreds of thousands to leave.

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 for California state Sen. John Moorlach. He blogs at JohnSeiler.Substack.com