California’s climate sinkhole accelerates its decline

California’s climate sinkhole accelerates its decline



By Peter Murphy


My eyes went westward, knowing,..That’s the place that I love best of all…

That’s why I can hardly wait

Open up that golden gate California, Here I Come!


These familiar lyrics from the song “California Here I Come” were first sung in the 1921 Broadway musical Bombo. My first connection to the song was watching reruns of I Love Lucy when the Ricardos and Mertzes embarked on a long road trip to Hollywood from their TV series home in New York City during season four, which aired in the mid-1950s.


That bygone era of California Dreamin’ is long gone.


The once-Golden State has been in rapid decline from being a prosperous, expanding, and destination state since the Gold Rush of 1848, two years before California joined the U.S. The relentless imposition of high-cost climate policies is a key reason.


No one running California’s government today—starting with the impervious Governor Gavin Newsom, who wants to “solve this climate crisis”—would ever admit cause-and-effect realities of climate policies and the state’s blizzard of economic and quality-of-life problems. Such policies include restricting oil and gas development and refineries, mandating all-electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles by 2035, renewable energy usage requirements, including solar installation on new home and building construction, no new reservoirs constructed in 45 years, and much more.


This failure to acknowledge the climate-change culprit in the state’s ongoing demise and population exodus means there is no beginning to when these problems are reversed, which bodes ill for California’s indefinite future – and potentially the U.S.


As the song above indicates, it was not always this way. Following World War II, California’s growth and prosperity catapulted for the next half century, displacing New York as the most populous state by 1970. The turning point downward is debatable, but the year 2003 was a telling moment. That is when A-list actor Arnold Schwarzenegger was elected to succeed Governor Grey Davis after the incumbent lost a recall election following a summer of brownouts from high-priced electricity shortages.


Gov. Schwarzenegger, himself a climate fanatic, perpetuated the bleeding. But he had star power compared to the dullard Davis, which carried him for his two terms in office.


Then came the return of Governor Jerry Brown, one of the leading climate change obsessives of all time who implemented policies virtually without opposition in what by then was a de facto single-political party government in the nation’s largest state. One of Gov. Brown’s dreamscapes was the bullet train project from San Francisco to Los Angeles, which soon became a nightmare of litigation, futility, and cost overruns in the tens of billions of dollars.


As California’s ruling class clings to harmful climate policies, the negative impact on real people is more obvious than ever. Among the most tangible examples is the cost of gasoline. At this writing, the gallon price of gasoline is $4.82, which is 40 percent above the national average, or more than $70.00 to fill a regular car.


Electricity rates in California are the 2nd highest in the nation (after remote Hawaii), with the price of a kilowatt hour among all sectors at 25.8 cents, more than double the national average of 12.7 cents/kwh.


Price gaps of this magnitude are deliberate; they are man-made by California’s politicians.


Other negative impacts from climate change policies go beyond the high price of energy. Government can no longer maintain deteriorating infrastructure, especially roads and bridges, as funds get diverted to the bullet train boondoggle, gas tax revenue drops by $4.4 billion from more people driving electric vehicles, or people moving out of state, especially wealthy income taxpayers (including actors) and businesses.


With no sign from California’s present-day ruling class of humility or willingness to revisit harmful climate policies (or open borders and rampant crime), California’s citizens are increasingly relocating such that the Golden State’s population is in decline for the first time in its 174-year history. The state’s population, which peaked in 2020 at 39.5 million, is now estimated to have dropped by a net of 600,000.


With population loss, California’s delegation in Congress declined following the 2020 census and is projected to drop again after 2030. Gone are the days when population growth was increasing California’s political strength in Washington, with the biggest bump during the 1950s leading to eight new congressional seats (see the aforementioned season four of I Love Lucy).


The state of California’s economic condition today is a harbinger of America’s near-term future, one with higher energy and overall prices and a lower quality of life resulting from climate policies — if allowed to continue under the Biden administration.


The failure, inability, or unwillingness of California’s residents to change the political class that is imposing economically destructive climate policies still provides dissenters an alternative by leaving the state, as so many have done.


If America continues to follow the California climate path, there will be no place to escape.