History will be a harsh judge of Arnolds environmental policies.
Bypassing the legislature, Schwarzenegger last month signed an executive order mandating drastic cuts in so-called greenhouse gas emissions to 80% below 1990 levels by 2050. "The debate is over," Schwarzenegger wrote July 3 in a London newspaper. "We know the science."
But the Governator is thinking with his biceps, and clearly taking cues from his über-environmentalist Cabinet Secretary Terry Tamminen who seems to be living the title of Schwarzeneggers film, True Lies.
We dont even know for sure that any warming is man-made, rather than the earths natural cycle that brought on both the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age. Were it man-made, even trying to slow it would be devastatingly expensive, as Danish statistician Bjorn Lomborg and others have cogently argued.
But Schwarzenegger and Tamminen know better. "Many people have falsely assumed that you have to choose between protecting the environment and protecting the economy," he wrote in the British paper. California will show how to "to solve global warming problems," confidently declared Tamminen.
Yet signers of the Kyoto Protocol, a 1997 pact to roll back greenhouse emissions, are finding they cannot. This though Kyoto only calls for a return to 1990 levels, not Californias 80% below. Emissions from the original European Union 15 member states have INCREASED since 1997.
Schwarzenegger says he would reduce gas emissions with increased energy production from windmills, solar panels, geothermal power and biomass conversion. But all are far more expensive than the fossil fuels they replace. According to calculations by Competitive Enterprise Institute adjunct scholar Joel Schwartz, based on federal Energy Information Administration data, Arnolds antics will cost Californians "several billion dollars per year."
Thats more than a meal for four in Beverly Hills, including drinks and tip.
How did Schwarzenegger become Conan the Greenarian, determined to wield and ultimately sacrifice his state to slay a beast thats either mythical or invincible?
Terry Tamminen is several shades greener than this big guy.
Tamminen is greener than the Jolly Green Giant. Until the Arnold appointment, he was executive director of Environment Now. He was or remains affiliated with a forest of environmentalist organizations including the Natural Resources Defense Council, Baykeepers, Surfrider Foundation, Heal the Bay, Malibu Foundation, the Waterkeeper Alliance, Energy Independence Now, and coalition of about 50 green groups called Clean Farms Clean Water.
Hes on the board of directors for the Wishtoyo Foundation, which he approvingly says is "making the environment a cultural and not a scientific issue." Lovely.
Schwarzenegger never promised a "pro-science" administration, but did say he was pro-business. Tamminens appointments therefore would seem awfully curious except that he admitted to an interviewer that much can be attributed to being a longtime friend of Schwarzeneggers environmentalist wife Maria Shriver, who is also a cousin of outspoken environmentalist and long-time Tamminen colleague Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Blood is truly thicker than water.
But some analysts see Tamminen as just the first Kudzu plant that will rapidly spread and eventually choke off California development. Its distressing that an attorney with whom hes affiliated through the Waterkeeper Alliance, Sejal Choksi, was appointed last year to a state environmental committee even as she was chief counsel in a lawsuit against the state.
How many new laws will these Kudzu characters ram through that will send taxes soaring, force businesses to fail or flee, and leave employees with notices stating: "Youve been terminated!"
Read Michael Fumentos additional work on global warming.