Issues & Insights
California's Gov. Gavin Newsom. Photo: JD Lasica. Published under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license (

California’s Net-Zero Energy Model Is Already A Disaster — So Why Should The Rest Of The U.S. Copy It?

When it comes to “net-zero” energy policy, the commentary coming from the Biden administration these days is truly dizzying. Americans are now being told that California’s crazy energy policies would be a good model for the rest of the nation. Have these people seen what’s going on there?

California’s plan to ban all gasoline-powered vehicles by 2035 and replace them with electric vehicles “could be” a model for the rest of the nation, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm recently said.

She didn’t mean that as a warning, but you should know: It is one.

“I think California really is leaning in. And of course, the federal government has a goal of — the president has announced — by 2030 that half of the vehicles in the U.S., the new ones sold would be electric,” Granholm added.

Get that? She’s saying the federal government, already trying to destroy the auto industry and ruin the oil industry through insane regulations and restrictions that have pushed energy costs to prohibitive levels, hasn’t gone far enough.

Cali’s nuttiness has only just begun under far-left Gov. Gavin Newsom, but already it’s wreaking havoc on the state’s economy. No sooner had California issued its new rules moving the state toward all electrical vehicles than it was slammed with record heat. The state then told EV owners not to charge their cars.

Don’t charge your car? As a recent Newsweek headline blared, “California Wildfires, Blackout Fears Create Conflict for Electric Car Users.”

What business would want to relocate to California or expand there if it can’t be guaranteed a steady, reliable supply of reasonably priced energy? The answer, of course, is no business would.

The truth is, California is anything but a model for others to emulate. However, it is a perfect model for what other states — and the federal government, for that matter — should not do.

Along with soaring energy prices, Californians are now dealing with rolling blackouts and threats of future shortages, even as the state government vows to push forward with plans to force all of its citizens into electric vehicles.

Simply put, the state doesn’t supply enough electricity to do the job. And it won’t be able to do so with just wind and solar. Even worse, California is already dependent on others for what energy it has.

“California is the nation’s largest importer of electricity,” Katie Tubb, a research fellow at the Heritage Foundation Center for Energy, Climate, and Environment, told The Daily Signal. “And California has relied on electricity from Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Arizona. Certainly, that’s becoming more challenging as these states also face weather and drought situations, and California can’t rely on that.”

Brownouts, blackouts, soaring energy prices, sickening top-down mandates, higher food costs, lower standards of living: Is this what the rest of the country is supposed to emulate?

California’s new “rule” (it in fact has the power of law) was promulgated by the California Air Resources Board (CARB), a hyper-politicized, non-elected board (entirely controlled by Democrats, in what is now a one-party state) that has near-dictatorial powers.

California desperately needs more energy, including low-pollution fossil-fuels, more nuclear power, hydroelectric plants, LNG. Even slow growth demands more power. Unfortunately, the only thing scarcer in California than cheap, plentiful energy is common sense.

“The absurdity of California’s new mandate is that they are demanding this change without doing one thing to increase supply in California’s power grid,” wrote Duane Patterson over at Hot Air. “As of January 2022, there are over 36 million cars and trucks registered in the Golden State. How many are electric, you ask? Around 600,000, or 1.7%.”


As Townhall recently commented, “at least a dozen other states are poised to adopt California’s regulations, as many have tied their environmental policies to what CARB decides. Washington and Massachusetts have already announced they plan to adopt the rule, though other states, like Virginia, are pushing back.”

Yet, such policies have been objectively bad for California. The state is hemorrhaging businesses and population, as soaring taxes, nannystate socialism, rampant public drug abuse and exploding violent crime rates make the once Golden State increasingly unlivable.

To wish this on the rest of the country is, of course, irrational but also cruel. It’s also impossible to transition to a “net-zero” economy with “wind and solar,” as Granholm, Biden and company seem to believe.

A recent YouTube video from a University of Queensland researcher explains why. The video includes a table (see below) that indicates that an almost incomprehensible supply of minerals would be required (at 2019 pre-COVID production levels) for the “green” transition. The amount is staggering. Without forcing you to decipher this rather complex table, here’s Power Line‘s succinct summation:

Note that 189 years worth of copper production, 400 years of nickel production, 9,921 years of lithium production, 1,733 years of cobalt production, 29,113 years of germanium production, and so on, would be needed for the first 20 years of wind and solar installations. Then we would have to do it all over again. Talk about a lack of sustainability!

Here are the data, in table form:

Assessment of the Extra Capacity Required of Alternative Energy Electrical Power Systems To Completely Replace Fossil Fuels,” by Simon Michaux, associate professor, Julius Kruttschnitt Mineral Research Centre, University of Queensland.

In short, the whole idea of a net-zero transition is a lie. But, if so, why would they tell us such an obvious mistruth?

Because, as you can tell from their love of private jets and multi-billion dollar “green” megadeals and fuel-guzzling yachts, America’s elites don’t believe that we’re really in a climate emergency at all. But pretending we’re in one gives them more power over all of us. In that context, the COVID pandemic and subsequent panic were a dry run for the climate-change “emergency” they now want to impose. That’s the real purpose here.

And, hey, it’s working in California, isn’t it?

— Written by the I&I Editorial Board

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The Issues and Insights Editorial Board has decades of experience in journalism, commentary and public policy.


  • Electricity is in short supply in California, so: By government decree all new homes and new appliances in California must now use electricity instead of natural gas. Makes perfect sense if you want to fight climate change, or so they say. California is Government by the Morons, for the Morons, of the Morons. Moron-style communism merged with medieval feudalism. Diktats for everything from plastic bags and eating utensils to light bulbs, medical care, doctor conversations with patients, student vaxxing, yard watering, you name it. Hardly anything escapes obsessive diktats or regulation. Even cows belching natural gas (methane) get busted in California. Next it may be humans. In the next legislative session addressing the post-pandemic existential (non-existent) climate change crisis, I would not be surprised to see private bathroom farts monitored by gas detectors, and subject to fines based on methane content. Stay tuned, as one-party California state government knows no bounds and the idiocy is beyond out-of-control.

    One-party communist states inevitably become corrupt, and California is corrupt beyond belief. In case you missed it:

    After a 10-year battle to unlock California’s secretive checkbook and almost 450 open records requests with every state agency, Open The Books discovered that Newsom’s donors often are richly rewarded for their largesse with grants to their foundations and massive tax credits to their companies. Newsom “solicited roughly 1000 state vendors for $10.5 million worth of campaign donations, and those companies or affiliated companies received $6.2 billion worth of state payments last year,”…

  • Our esteemed Energy Secretary has said she too wants to mandate all EV. And be ‘half way there’ by 2030.

    So we have 280,000,000 registered Internal Combustion vehicles in the USA. We sell some 3.5 mm vehicles a year. Be generous call it 5mm. To get to 50% will take 28 years not 7.2 years.

    Why aren’t any LSM journalists asking her HOW we accomplish the impossible? Oh thats right they aren’t journalists anymore they are 99% political appointees pushing hard left agendas!! Next thing they’ll be asking what would Jesus drive?

  • Yesterday we had brief power Failure not even a minute long but it messes with my Computer and two clocks

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