CBS celebrated California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s plan to force 25 percent cuts in “greenhouse gas” emissions by the year 2020, painting the regulations as a sensible way to grow the economy and protect the environment. But reporter John Blackstone dismissed or ignored objections to the plan, including the charge that it does nothing to actually reduce greenhouse emissions.
“Going its own way on global warming, America’s most populated state intends to roll back its greenhouse gas emissions to the level they were in 1990,” correspondent John Blackstone began his August 31 “Evening News” story, painting the Golden State chief executive as a hero who stands up to Washington, in favor of big government.
“California’s Republican governor Arnold Schwarzenegger gave up waiting for the federal government to act,” he added before showing the former movie star telling rally attendees that his plan would “simultaneously protect the environment” while business would “boom.”
To bolster Schwarzenegger’s point, Blackstone dismissed criticism from the oil refining industry that it would “drive business and jobs out of the state” by pointing to “unlikely supporters” of the governor’s plan like Peter Darbee of Pacific Gas & Electric.
Darbee likes the plan, said Blackstone, because “companies will be able to buy and sell the right to pollute. Those that reduce emissions more than required can sell what’s called a credit to companies that haven’t reduced emissions enough.”
In other words, “let the market handle it,” Blackstone asked Darbee. “Exactly right,” Darbee answered.
But the so-called market-based solution is just more regulation on private industry that will not actually reduce emissions into the atmosphere, the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Myron Ebell points out.
“The utilities signed on to it because they have a way out and in fact they may benefit because they produce everything out-of-state,” Ebell, the director of energy policy for the Washington, D.C.-based think tank, told the Business & Media Institute.
As such, Ebell told BMI, buying energy produced out-of-state would only curb emissions created in-state, but those “greenhouse gases” would just be produced outside California as the state shifted away from energy production while growing its energy consumption.
“[I]t seems that the loophole is that the utilities can get all their additional power from out of state,” Ebell noted, adding that “ if that’s the case, the utilities have a huge source of credits that they can sell, and they can just buy all their power from out of state.”
In other words, Darbee’s company has a lot to benefit from the newly signed legislation. Conversely, oil refineries, which generate emissions in-state, would likely need to buy credits to conform to new regulations.
Concluded Ebell, “It’s a nutty thing that they’ve done, and it’s going to have a lot of costs” passed on to the consumer.
Aside from skipping any detractors of the regulatory scheme, Blackstone left out any global warming critics, perhaps because CBS has all but officially declared global warming an undisputed fact.
As the Business & Media Institute reported last month, during an extended national heat wave, Blackstone’s colleague Bob Orr excluded any opposing view on his July 31 “Evening News” story on climate change.
“[Pew Center on Global Climate Change’s Jay] Gulledge says there’s no longer any serious debate” over global warming, Orr insisted then. Yet BMI pointed to two climatologists who disagree, including University of Alabama climatologist John Christy.
“Weather extremes occur somewhere all the time,” Christy noted, including “the coldest November and December in 106 years” at the end of 2000, an event that “does not prove U.S. or global cooling.”
CBS also failed to note that the huge cuts planned by California still fall short of the left-wing goal of meeting the Kyoto treaty guidelines. That pact would mandate cuts 7 percent below 1990 levels.