California just hung up a big “Manufacturing Workers Need Not Apply” sign. It took the form of extended, stricter, and even less realistic carbon dioxide regulations.
A new California bill extends legislation previously set to expire in 2020 and imposes dramatically deeper emissions cuts for 2030. Under the new measure, California must cut its carbon dioxide emissions to a level 40 percent below its 1990 level by 2030.
It’s worth noting that California’s population is projected to be 50 percent higher in 2030than it was in 1990. It’s also worth noting that carbon dioxide is colorless, odorless, and nontoxic. Its purported health and climate impacts result from carbon dioxide’s effect on global warming. However, no amount of emissions regulation in California (or even the United States as a whole) will have a significantimpact on global warming—the developing world’s demand for affordable energy will swamp any cuts made by the U.S.
But the added regulatory burden will almost certainly drive up energy costs, which is bad news for consumers and businesses—and especially bad for energy-intensive industries like manufacturing.