There are several variations from a wonderful line in a Marx Brothers movie, where Groucho asks, “Who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?”
It is but a variation on another classic observation: “The emperor is wearing no clothes.”
California likes to pretend it is a leader of the world in all things, not the least of which is paving the way towards a fossil fuel-free existence. The truth is altogether different.
California is, in fact, the nation’s leader in its dependence upon electricity generation that it must import from other states along with the amount of oil and gas it has to import from other nations. That is, California is nothing but a great pretender when it comes to being a worldwide leader in demonstrating that a fossil-free, 100% greenhouse gas-free economy and society is a possibility.
How bad are your eyes lying to you? Know this: Electricity is a secondary power source that must be produced from another energy source. Furthermore, it is not a truly natural resource, like oil and gas, due to the fact that we haven’t figured out how to catch lightning.
What does that mean in practical terms? America actually produces most of the electricity it uses by way of burning fossil fuels! Oh, my, there is an inconvenient truth. Meanwhile, California pretends it is proving to the world that we are going to be the first economy and society to cut ourselves off from fossil fuel electricity generation entirely.
But there goes your lying eyes, once again.
Consider the fact that we already produce more solar power than we can use. This has to do with the fact that we have no ability to store solar power as it is generated. The sunshine peaks into the grid during the hours of 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The problem is, our peak-hour usage for electricity is in the evening. What to do with the excess solar electricity production? We pay Arizona to take it off the grid!
Along the way towards this mirage of energy nirvana, California promulgated a series of regulations to prematurely end the life of several gas plants, but then, just a few weeks ago, we had some rolling blackouts. Hence, the powers that be meekly and very quietly determined that the “not-so-fast approach” to pulling the plug on these electricity power sources was the prudent thing to do.
To save face, butt-naked Gavin Newsom announced an order to ban fossil fuel vehicles in their entirety. This announcement is nothing but a lot of hot air, as it pertains to reducing our greenhouse gas footprint. Why? Because, soon, we will have to import even more energy to California.
It all has to do with nuclear power. Two plants, San Onofre and Diablo Canyon were the only two plants operating in California. San Onofre is already shut down. Diablo is soon to follow.
Ironically, these two plants were the major source of greenhouse-gas-free electricity in our state, 20% of our total generation capacity to be exact, yet, they were not considered “renewable,” so they had to go.
Meanwhile, California’s record-setting fire season, mostly sparked by that same lightning that we failed to capture and store, just lit up a few million of our state’s 140 million dead trees. That is a problem in view of the fact that these burning trees just released more carbon than our state produces on a yearly basis. Hence, our failure to manage our forests could be considered a significant precursor to climate change, but don’t tell Newsom that he obviously enjoys living in a fantasy.
In the meantime, the reliable and sustainable energy sector job killing spree continues unabated.
Andy Caldwell is the executive director of COLAB and the host of The Andy Caldwell Show weekdays from 3-5 p.m. on News-Press Radio AM 1290.