California State University, Fullerton. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
This week yet another effect of California’s lone attempt to save the world from global warming has come to light – a growing number of California’s colleges and universities will be forced to enter the mad marketplace of carbon credits to offset the greenhouse gases produced on their campuses.
Have these California campuses full of trees and squirrels become a threat to the world’s ozone? Apparently, the all-encompassing AB 32 zealots say they are.
According to a recent analysis by the state Legislative Auditor’s Office, six University of California campuses, one UC medical center, and two California State University campuses are already required to report their emissions. Next year, when AB 32 emission control requirements start, these campuses will be forced to cut emissions dramatically or buy carbon credits.
Because a market doesn’t yet exist for carbon credits, no one in California state government can say with certainty what the costs to our universities will be, except that it will be hundreds of millions of dollars system-wide.
Not only do incoming university students—or their parents–have tuition increases, fee increases, more years in school to complete their degrees to look forward to, now they will get the pleasure of paying one way or another for carbon offsets or costly emissions reductions.
There may be one consolation – at least the professors and students who’ve clamored for tougher climate control measures will get a real lesson in the economics of environmental edicts.
They will at least know they are “protecting the planet” in their own microcosmic way when university labs are shut down, classes are cut, dorms are hotter in warm months and colder in cold months, and when they are not allowed to drive to or park anywhere near campus. Maybe then they will wonder if the price is worth the benefit.
They will learn that all actions have consequences, and all environmental actions have costs. Fortunately, it won’t just be small businesses and taxpayers who will find that out.
Eventually, maybe we will all learn that California cannot save the world alone. In fact, all of us – the governor, legislators, government employees, activist groups, businesses, and taxpayers – need to realize that if we continue on this course the state will follow the ever-growing number of California cities in realizing there is no way to pay all that we owe.
California State Senator Bob Dutton represents the 31st Senate District.