Are the Cal Fires Driven by Climate Change and Capitalism?

Chuck DeVore is interviewed by Larry Elder on these (and more) topics regarding California’s regulatory arm and environmental groups and the affect they have on forest health, power grids, and the rising cost for the poor. The conversation is based in large part on these two articles:

In the above two article (and the ones to follow) are detailed failures of our state legislature (a super majority in both houses are Democrats) to bring California into the 21st century.

These policies of pushing alternative energy goals retards the power grid, and hurts the poor the most where it counts — the pocket book:

These are important topics that SHOULD be looked into by Californians. However, the urge to FEEL “angelic” (on the side of angels) far outweighs the reality of the road we are paving. Here is the “CS LEWIS” of politics from a related post: “Deadly Altruism Marks the Left ~ Illiberal Egalitarianism and the NYFD

There is a Liberal sentiment that it should also punish those who take more than their “fair share.” But what is their fair share? (Shakespeare suggests that each should be treated not according to his deserts, but according to God’s mercy, or none of us would escape whipping.)

The concept of Fairness, for all its attractiveness to sentiment, is a dangerous one (cf. quota hiring and enrollment, and talk of “reparations”). Deviations from the Law, which is to say the Constitution, to accommodate specifically alleged identity-group injustices will all inevitably be expanded, universalized, and exploited until there remains no law, but only constant petition of Government.

We cannot live in peace without Law. And though law cannot be perfect, it may be just if it is written in ignorance of the identity of the claimants and applied equally to all. Then it is a possession not only of the claimants but of the society, which may now base its actions upon a reasonable assumption of the law’s treatment.

But “fairness” is not only a nonlegal but an antilegal process, for it deals not with universally applicable principles and strictures, but with specific cases, responding to the perceived or proclaimed needs of individual claimants, and their desire for extralegal preference. And it could be said to substitute fairness (a determination which must always be subjective) for justice (the application of the legislated will of the electorate), is to enshrine greed—the greed, in this case, not for wealth, but for preference. The socialistic spirit of the Left indicts ambition and the pursuit of wealth as Greed, and appeals, supposedly on behalf of “the people,” to the State for “fairness.”….

….But such fairness can only be the non-Constitutional intervention of the State in the legal, Constitutional process—awarding, as it sees fit, money (reparations), preferment (affirmative action), or entertainment (confiscation)….

….“Don’t you care?” is the admonition implicit in the very visage of the Liberals of my acquaintance on their understanding that I have embraced Conservatism. But the Talmud understood of old that good intentions can lead to evil—vide Busing, Urban Renewal, Affirmative Action, Welfare, et cetera, to name the more immediately apparent, and not to mention the, literally, tens of thousands of Federal and State statutes limiting freedom of trade, which is to say, of the right of the individual to make a living, and, so earn that wealth which would, in its necessary expenditure, allow him to provide a living to others….

…. I recognized that though, as a lifelong Liberal, I endorsed and paid lip service to “social justice,” which is to say, to equality of result, I actually based the important decisions of my life—those in which I was personally going to be affected by the outcome—upon the principle of equality of opportunity; and, further, that so did everyone I knew. Many, I saw, were prepared to pay more taxes, as a form of Charity, which is to say, to hand off to the Government the choice of programs and recipients of their hard-earned money, but no one was prepared to be on the short end of the failed Government pro-grams, however well-intentioned. (For example—one might endorse a program giving to minorities preference in award of government contracts; but, as a business owner, one would fight to get the best possible job under the best possible terms regardless of such a program, and would, in fact, work by all legal and, perhaps by semi- or illegal means to subvert any program that enforced upon the proprietor a bad business decision.)*

Further, one, in paying the government to relieve him of a feeling of social responsibility, might not be bothered to question what in fact constituted a minority, and whether, in fact, such minority contracts were actually benefiting the minority so enshrined, or were being subverted to shell corporations and straw men.


* No one would say of a firefighter, hired under rules reducing the height requirement, and thus unable to carry one’s child to safety, “Nonetheless, I am glad I voted for that ‘more fair’ law.”

As, indeed, they are, or, in the best case, to those among the applicants claiming eligibility most capable of framing, supporting, or bribing their claims to the front of the line. All claims cannot be met. The politicians and bureaucrats discriminating between claims will necessarily favor those redounding to their individual or party benefit—so the eternal problem of “Fairness,” supposedly solved by Government distribution of funds, becomes, yet again and inevitably, a question of graft.

David Mamet, The Secret Knowledge: On the Dismantling of American Culture (New York, NY: Sentinel Publishing, 2011), 116-117, 12

California’s Cautionary Tale – Joel Kotkin

John and Ken interview Joel Kotkin regarding California’s crisis after a decade of Green House regulations. The LARGE study from Chapman University, “California, Greenhouse Gas Regulation, and Climate Change,” (PDF)

Latest article by Joel:

✦ California’s Climate Extremism: The pursuit of environmental purity in the Golden State does nothing to reverse global warming—but it’s costing the poor and middle class dearly (CITY JOURNAL)

Here is a great summary of a dummed down article of the above (via WE ARE SC):

  • since 2007 has reduced emissions by 10 percent, below the national average of 12 percent,
  • The state is home to a remarkable 77 of the country’s 297 most “economically challenged” cities based on levels of poverty and employment, suffering the highest poverty rate of any state, well above the rate for such historically poor states as Mississippi.
  • California now has the greatest income inequality in the nation,
  • out-migrant households had a higher average income than those households that stayed, or of households that moved in to the state.
  • minimum or near-minimum wage jobs accounted in 2015-16, notes the state’s Business Roundtable, for almost two-thirds of the state’s new job growth.

(The entire Orange County Register article can be read here: SAVE MARINWOOD || See also, “Electricity Rates by State in 2018“)

Political Droughts (California)

WHY THIS POST? I am combining three posts into one for the person who wants to link the issue to a friend or family member in one post. Mind you this will make the post a bit long, but show clearly that the reason we are in a drought is because of the left in California kneeling before the alter of the [extreme] environmentalist political pressure groups. NOT to mention Jerry brown helped such people his first tenure (as well as other Democrat governors in California) in office to stop MULTIPLE water projects that would help prepare California for it’s droughts.

Please-please keep in mind that if you are one of the political skeptics that has a belief that greedy politicians are out to bankroll their time in office… think about this: would it behoove the State of California (primarily Democrat politicians) to fix the issue… or keep having eco-“type”-groups campaigning for and giving money to the Democrats Party in California AS WELL AS racking in tons of money via fines to a problem THEY created?

I mean, they have to pay for all the social programs in order to keep the their voters happy and voting Dem: California has 11% of the U.S. population, and about 30% of the welfare cases.

Prof. DiLorenzo

Droughts, of course, are a natural phenomenon, but governments often make them worse when government bureaucrats set water prices and allocate water usage. In 2015, California Governor Jerry Brown ordered city and county governments to enforce a reduction in water usage by 25 percent. Failure to do so would result in a $10,000 per day fine. This comes from a state that during the concurrent drought pumped several million acre feet of fresh water into the ocean in pursuit of government-mandated environmental goals.

Thomas J. DiLorenzo, The Problem with Socialism (New Jersey, NJ: Regnery, 2016), 47.

WATER PULSING

My Fox LA op-ed:

…On March 24th of this year, pursuant to the Endangered Species Act, the federal Government ordered a release of 5 billion gallons of water sent down the Stanislaus River, which eventually emptied into the ocean.

The purpose of this release or “pulse” as it’s called, was to raise the level of the river, so 23 steelhead trout could spawn.

So, in effect, just to allow 23 adult fish to possibly mate, water was wasted that could have supplied 150,000 Californians — for a year.

On April 10th, the Feds sent another 5 billion gallon pulse of water (enough water for another 150,000 Californians) down the Stanislaus, for the purpose of helping six steelhead trout reach the ocean and eventually return upriver to spawn.

It all just seems unbelievable.

In this terrible drought situation California finds itself in, it seems incredible to waste this massive amount of precious water.

It deifies common sense.

Billions of gallons of water being flushed to the sea.

This unfortunately is not the only example….

It’s hard to ask Californians to save water – when government is wasting it so needlessly.

200-YEAR LONG DROUGHTS

Don’t forget: drought, fires, and wild weather were blamed on global cooling.

THANKFULLY we got out of global cooling so we don’t have to worry about droughts, fires, or wild weather any longer ~ WHEW! That was a close call.

(Real Science, also see, RPT)

Here are excerpts from Kotkin’s article that Prager is reading from in the above audio (video):

The Big Idea: California Is So Over: California’s drought and how it’s handled show just what kind of place the Golden State is becoming: feudal, super-affluent and with an impoverished interior.

….But since the 1970s, California’s water system has become the prisoner of politics and posturing. The great aqueducts connecting the population centers with the great Sierra snowpack are all products of an earlier era—the Los Angeles aqueduct (1913), Hetch-Hetchy (1923), the Central Valley Project (1937), and the California Aqueduct (1974). The primary opposition to expansion has been the green left, which rejects water storage projects as irrelevant.

Yet at the same time greens and their allies in academia and the mainstream pressare those most likely to see the current drought as part of a climate change-induced reduction in snowpack. That many scientists disagree with this assessment is almost beside the point. Whether climate change will make things better or worse is certainly an important concern, but California was going to have problems meeting its water needs under any circumstances.

It’s not like we haven’t been around this particular block before. In the 1860s, a severe drought all but destroyed LA’s once-flourishing cattle industry. This drought was followed by torrential rains that caused their own havoc. The state has suffered three major droughts since I have lived here—in the mid70s, the mid ’80s and again today—but long ago (even before I got there) some real whoppers occurred, including dry periods that lasted upwards of 200 years.

[….]

But ultimately the responsibility for California’s future lies with our political leadership, who need to develop the kind of typically bold approaches past generations have embraced. One step would be building new storage capacity, which Governor Jerry Brown, after opposing it for years, has begun to admit is necessary. Desalinization, widely used in the even more arid Middle East, notably Israel, has been blocked by environmental interests but could tap a virtually unlimited supply of the wet stuff, and lies close to the state’s most densely populated areas. Essentially the state could build enough desalinization facilities, and the energy plants to run them, for less money than Brown wants to spend on his high-speed choo-choo to nowhere. This piece of infrastructure is so irrelevant to the state’s needs that even many progressives, such as Mother JonesKevinDrum, consider it a “ridiculous” waste of money.

[….]

This fundamentally hypocritical regime remains in place because it works—for the powerful and well-placed. Less understandable is why many Hispanic politicians, such as Assembly Speaker Kevin de Leon, also prioritize “climate change” as his leading issue, without thinking much about how these policies might worsen the massive poverty in his de-industrializing L.A. district—until you realize that de Leon is bankrolled by Tom Steyer and others from the green uberclass.

So, in the end, we are producing a California that is the polar opposite of Pat Brown’s creation. True, it has some virtues: greener, cleaner, and more “progressive” on social issues. But it’s also becoming increasingly feudal, defined by a super-affluent coastal class and an increasingly impoverished interior. As water prices rise, and farms and lawns are abandoned, there’s little thought about how to create a better future for the bulk of Californians. Like medieval peasants, millions of Californians have been force to submit to the theology of our elected high priest and his acolytes, leaving behind any aspirations that the Golden State can work for them too.

(CBS) …The Sorek plant produces more than 165 million gallons of fresh water and accounts for more than 20 percent of Israel’s water consumption, according to Udi Tirosh, a director at IDE.

Factoring in several other desalination plants, an astonishing 50 percent of the country’s drinking water now comes directly from the ocean – an amount capable of supplying the entire city of Los Angeles.

Plant officials also say it offers some of the world’s cheapest desalinated water because of new technology and a series of engineering improvements that have cut down the massive energy normally required to transform seawater into fresh water.

Fountains that were once forced to dry up now are flowing again….

CALIFORNIA WATER PROJECTS

Another MUST READ excerpt by a really well written article is this one by Victor Davis Hanson:

Just as California’s freeways were designed to grow to meet increased traffic, the state’s vast water projects were engineered to expand with the population. Many assumed that the state would finish planned additions to the California State Water Project and its ancillaries. But in the 1960s and early 1970s, no one anticipated that the then-nascent environmental movement would one day go to court to stop most new dam construction, including the 14,000-acre Sites Reservoir on the Sacramento River near Maxwell; the Los Banos Grandes facility, along a section of the California Aqueduct in Merced County; and the Temperance Flat Reservoir, above Millerton Lake north of Fresno. Had the gigantic Klamath River diversion project not likewise been canceled in the 1970s, the resulting Aw Paw reservoir would have been the state’s largest man-made reservoir. At two-thirds the size of Lake Mead, it might have stored 15 million acre-feet of water, enough to supply San Francisco for 30 years. California’s water-storage capacity would be nearly double what it is today had these plans come to fruition. It was just as difficult to imagine that environmentalists would try to divert contracted irrigation and municipal water from already-established reservoirs. Yet they did just that, and subsequently moved to freeze California’s water-storage resources at 1970s capacities.

All the while, the Green activists remained blissfully unconcerned about the vast immigration into California from Latin America and Mexico that would help double the state’s population in just four decades, to 40 million. Had population growth remained static, perhaps California could have lived with partially finished water projects. The state might also have been able to restore the flow of scenic rivers from the mountains to the sea, maintained a robust agribusiness sector, and even survived a four-or-five-year drought. But if California continues to block new construction of the State Water Project as well as additions to local and federal water-storage infrastructure, officials must halve California’s population, or shut down the 5 million acres of irrigated crops on the Central Valley’s west side, or cut back municipal water usage in a way never before done in the United States.

Victor Davis Hanson, “The Scorching of California: How Green Extremists Made a Bad Drought Worse,” The City Journal, Winter 2015 (Vol 25, No. 1), 82.

DECADES OF WARNING

A great article by Hot Air. This is the end of it… to read the entire thing, click through.

…Southern California has been in the process of running out of water for decades (if not longer) and the current drought is simply amplifying the effects and hastening the decline. I’ve been reading dire (and accurate) predictions about this issue for decades. Nearly twenty years ago there were cautionary tales coming out which discussed the fact that the region was essentially a desert when settlers began moving in and even the relatively small population in the nation’s early history already dwarfed the available natural water supplies. (This is from 1998, long before the current drought cycle.)

Not that we aren’t preoccupied with the issue of future water supplies for a good reason. In the LA Basin alone, we have approximately 6% of California’s habitable land but only .06% of the State’s stream flow — yet we hold over 45% of the State’s population. And if the population projections are to be believed, the entire southland is “scheduled” to grow from our current 16 million to over 24 million people. When policy questions are asked about whether Southern California can support this level of growth, the issue of greatest concern is not traffic or air quality or even quality of life, it is water. And the predominant question asked is “where will this water come from?”

Our water fears are not new. Since the pueblo days of Los Angeles, the lack of local water resources has been seen as the primary problem for the southland’s economic future. All plans for the development of the region have hinged around schemes to secure new water supplies — a fact recognized by Carey McWilliams, the pre-eminent historian of the southland, who wrote in 1946 that “God never intended Southern California to be anything but desert…Man has made it what it is.”

Going back to earlier in the last century, we find that the original reason that Hollywood voted to join the municipality of Los Angeles in 1910 was to gain access to their water rights. The area was already being drained by the growing population and would require later river diversions to feed the thirst of the area. The addition of a drought is a much harsher blow for an artificially created habitable zone.

But is the drought situation something new? Actually, not only the western portion of North America, but central and South America have apparently been experiencing these same cycles for as long as human beings have been around. One of the earliest recorded, but most massive examples was the curious disappearance of the million plus strong civilization of the Mayans more than a thousand years ago. What happened to them? Yep… a series of crippling, decade long droughts.

Identifying annual titanium levels, which reflect the amount of rainfall each year, the Swiss and U.S. researchers found that the pristine sediment layers in the basin formed distinct bands that correspond to dry and wet seasons. According to the scientists, there were three large droughts occurring between 810 and 910 A.D., each lasting less than a decade.

The timing of the droughts matched periodic downturns in the Maya culture, as demonstrated by abandonment of cities or diminished stone carving and building activity.

Experts say the Maya were particularly susceptible to long droughts because about 95 percent of their population centers depended solely on lakes, ponds, and rivers containing on average an 18-month supply of water for drinking and agriculture.

And according to the lake bed core samples they’ve taken, the drought which took out the Mayans wasn’t a one time event.

Scientists have found that the recurrence of the drought was remarkably cyclical, occurring every 208 years. That interval is almost identical to a known cycle in which the sun is at its most intense every 206 years. Nothing suggests the Maya knew anything about the sun’s change in intensity.

See? If only those pesky Mayans hadn’t been burning all of that coal and oil to power their dirty, industrial factories they’d probably still be down there today chopping out the hearts of their enemies. Ah… good times, my friends.

THE RECENT DROUGHT
Global Warming

California Dreamin’ of a Bygone Eras ~ Droughts vs. Politics (UPDATE)

Don’t forget: drought, fires, and wild weather were blamed on global cooling.

THANKFULLY we got out of global cooling so we don’t have to worry about droughts, fires, or wild weather any longer ~ WHEW! That was a close call.

(Real Science, also see, RPT)

Here are excerpts from Kotkin’s article that Prager is reading from in the above audio (video):

The Big Idea: California Is So Over: California’s drought and how it’s handled show just what kind of place the Golden State is becoming: feudal, super-affluent and with an impoverished interior.

….But since the 1970s, California’s water system has become the prisoner of politics and posturing. The great aqueducts connecting the population centers with the great Sierra snowpack are all products of an earlier era—the Los Angeles aqueduct (1913), Hetch-Hetchy (1923), the Central Valley Project (1937), and the California Aqueduct (1974). The primary opposition to expansion has been the green left, which rejects water storage projects as irrelevant.

Yet at the same time greens and their allies in academia and the mainstream pressare those most likely to see the current drought as part of a climate change-induced reduction in snowpack. That many scientists disagree with this assessment is almost beside the point. Whether climate change will make things better or worse is certainly an important concern, but California was going to have problems meeting its water needs under any circumstances.

It’s not like we haven’t been around this particular block before. In the 1860s, a severe drought all but destroyed LA’s once-flourishing cattle industry. This drought was followed by torrential rains that caused their own havoc. The state has suffered three major droughts since I have lived here—in the mid70s, the mid ’80s and again today—but long ago (even before I got there) some real whoppers occurred, including dry periods that lasted upwards of 200 years.

[….]

But ultimately the responsibility for California’s future lies with our political leadership, who need to develop the kind of typically bold approaches past generations have embraced. One step would be building new storage capacity, which Governor Jerry Brown, after opposing it for years, has begun to admit is necessary. Desalinization, widely used in the even more arid Middle East, notably Israel, has been blocked by environmental interests but could tap a virtually unlimited supply of the wet stuff, and lies close to the state’s most densely populated areas. Essentially the state could build enough desalinization facilities, and the energy plants to run them, for less money than Brown wants to spend on his high-speed choo-choo to nowhere. This piece of infrastructure is so irrelevant to the state’s needs that even many progressives, such as Mother JonesKevinDrum, consider it a “ridiculous” waste of money.

[….]

This fundamentally hypocritical regime remains in place because it works—for the powerful and well-placed. Less understandable is why many Hispanic politicians, such as Assembly Speaker Kevin de Leon, also prioritize “climate change” as his leading issue, without thinking much about how these policies might worsen the massive poverty in his de-industrializing L.A. district—until you realize that de Leon is bankrolled by Tom Steyer and others from the green uberclass.

So, in the end, we are producing a California that is the polar opposite of Pat Brown’s creation. True, it has some virtues: greener, cleaner, and more “progressive” on social issues. But it’s also becoming increasingly feudal, defined by a super-affluent coastal class and an increasingly impoverished interior. As water prices rise, and farms and lawns are abandoned, there’s little thought about how to create a better future for the bulk of Californians. Like medieval peasants, millions of Californians have been force to submit to the theology of our elected high priest and his acolytes, leaving behind any aspirations that the Golden State can work for them too.

(CBS) …The Sorek plant produces more than 165 million gallons of fresh water and accounts for more than 20 percent of Israel’s water consumption, according to Udi Tirosh, a director at IDE.

Factoring in several other desalination plants, an astonishing 50 percent of the country’s drinking water now comes directly from the ocean – an amount capable of supplying the entire city of Los Angeles.

Plant officials also say it offers some of the world’s cheapest desalinated water because of new technology and a series of engineering improvements that have cut down the massive energy normally required to transform seawater into fresh water.

Fountains that were once forced to dry up now are flowing again….

Another MUST READ excerpt by a really well written article is this one by Victor Davis Hanson:

Just as California’s freeways were designed to grow to meet increased traffic, the state’s vast water projects were engineered to expand with the population. Many assumed that the state would finish planned additions to the California State Water Project and its ancillaries. But in the 1960s and early 1970s, no one anticipated that the then-nascent environmental movement would one day go to court to stop most new dam construction, including the 14,000-acre Sites Reservoir on the Sacramento River near Maxwell; the Los Banos Grandes facility, along a section of the California Aqueduct in Merced County; and the Temperance Flat Reservoir, above Millerton Lake north of Fresno. Had the gigantic Klamath River diversion project not likewise been canceled in the 1970s, the resulting Aw Paw reservoir would have been the state’s largest man-made reservoir. At two-thirds the size of Lake Mead, it might have stored 15 million acre-feet of water, enough to supply San Francisco for 30 years. California’s water-storage capacity would be nearly double what it is today had these plans come to fruition. It was just as difficult to imagine that environmentalists would try to divert contracted irrigation and municipal water from already-established reservoirs. Yet they did just that, and subsequently moved to freeze California’s water-storage resources at 1970s capacities.

All the while, the Green activists remained blissfully unconcerned about the vast immigration into California from Latin America and Mexico that would help double the state’s population in just four decades, to 40 million. Had population growth remained static, perhaps California could have lived with partially finished water projects. The state might also have been able to restore the flow of scenic rivers from the mountains to the sea, maintained a robust agribusiness sector, and even survived a four-or-five-year drought. But if California continues to block new construction of the State Water Project as well as additions to local and federal water-storage infrastructure, officials must halve California’s population, or shut down the 5 million acres of irrigated crops on the Central Valley’s west side, or cut back municipal water usage in a way never before done in the United States.

Victor Davis Hanson, “The Scorching of California: How Green Extremists Made a Bad Drought Worse,” The City Journal, Winter 2015 (Vol 25, No. 1), 82.

The Beholden State: Reclaiming California’s Lost Promise

California is at a tipping point. Severe budget deficits, unsustainable pension costs, heavy taxes, cumbersome regulation, struggling cities, and distressed public schools are but a few of the challenges that policymakers must address for the state to remain a beacon of business innovation and economic opportunity. In this video, the cracks in California’s flawed policy plans are displayed and analyzed by a diverse set of experts in the state’s design.

Buy the book on Amazon