The California Air Resources board just demonstrated again how dangerous it can be to give single-focus agencies sweeping power. Think what we’ve learned from dictatorial health departments and governors.
The board unanimously decreed last week Uber and Lyft must have 90% of their trips in electric vehicles by 2030. That the companies, thanks to their successful initiative campaign last November, do not own the vehicles nor employ the drivers was simply ignored. Company officials said that they support the 2030 goal, but asked the pertinent question of who will pay for the cars. The air board could not answer that question in a three-hour hearing according to Rachel Becker of CalMatters.
The air board was given this responsibility in a 2018 law, but will not be responsible for enforcing it—that’s up to the state Public Utilities Commission.
The thrust toward renewable energy, as last summer’s brownouts demonstrated, is fraught with challenges. Consider the environmental impact from making batteries and what to do with the giant windmill blades when their useful life ends at 20 years. Those blades are not recyclable—they’re headed for landfills.
“As the Manhattan Institute’s Mark C. Mills writes, ‘A single electric-car battery weighs about 1,000 pounds. Fabricating one requires digging up, moving and processing more than 500,000 pounds of raw materials somewhere on the planet. The alternative? Use gasoline and extract one-tenth as much total tonnage to deliver the same number of vehicle-miles over the battery’s seven-year life.” And much of this mining occurs in countries with no concern for child-labor laws or the destructive impact on the environment,” writes Bruce Thornton, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center.
“But, as Mills explains, “Building one wind turbine requires 900 tons of steel, 2,500 tons of concrete and 45 tons of non-recyclable plastic. Solar power requires even more cement, steel and glass—not to mention other metals.’ Those materials will also have to be minded or manufactured, which requires energy. And that energy will necessarily come from hydrocarbons whose emissions will cancel the reductions from using “sustainable” and “clean” energy, which in fact is neither,” Thornton wrote.