The Climate Cult Comes for Federalism

 As Fox Business reports, after a less than subtle nudge by Governor Gavin Newsom (D-Calif.), the California Air Resources Board decided to mandate that all new vehicles in the state must run on electricity by 2035, so as to halve car emissions by 2040.  The implementation process begins in four years, when a third of new car sales have to produce zero-emissions; and, if they fall short of that goal, automakers could be slapped with a state fine.  Post-2035, 20% of new sales can be “plug-in hybrids”; the rest must rely only on hydrogen or electricity; and all must have a range of at least 150 miles per charge.  However, in its benevolence, the state of California would permit its people to drive and buy used gasoline propelled vehicles past 2035.  (Apparently, akin to the Mayan Calendar doomsday prediction, the climate cult believes 2035 is the deadline to meet Goddess Gaia’s demands.)
Governor Newsom has pledged to spend billions of other people’s money to reach these arbitrary targets.  What else could he do?  California’s energy grid currently can’t handle the state’s demand for electricity.  Per the New York Post: “California residents are being asked not to charge their electric vehicles to conserve energy amid a brutal heatwave – just days after the state announced a plan to ban sales of new gas-powered cars by 2035… The grid operator was asking residents to voluntarily reduce their power consumption by avoiding using ‘large appliances and charging electric vehicles’ during peak usage hours of 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.”
California’s mandate affects interstate commerce; consequently, federal approval is required.  This, though, should be speedily tendered by the Biden administration, which has also proven no slouch in spending other people’s money to lard the climate cult’s coffers.  And on the subject of Mr. Biden and lining coffers, there is as of yet no word if communist China or other major producers of emissions will follow California’s great leap forward in the climate cult’s war on American prosperity, liberty, and security.
But why should communist China?  Prior to the Biden administration’s strangulation of domestic traditional energy sources of oil and natural gas, America was an exporter of energy.  This meant that the U.S. could independently power its own energy needs.  Yet, if California’s recent auto diktat becomes the law of our land, the internal combustion engine will be replaced by autos powered by lithium batteries.  Unfortunately, as Fox Business notes: “most lithium is produced overseas, chiefly in Australia, Chile and China, with batteries primarily manufactured in China.  The United States has just one lithium processing facility and currently is not among the world's top 10 lithium-producing nations.” 
That’s right.  Americans are on the cusp of transitioning their right to travel into the hands of communist China.  Could that be a reason why the Beijing regime hasn’t yet joined the climate cult?
Other ostensibly sovereign states don’t have the luxury of saying no to California’s diktat.
In one of the many unfolding ironies of the radical Left’s apocalyptic climate cult, we now witness the spectacle of many of the seventeen sovereign states – some governed by Democrats and some governed by Republicans – now reconsidering their legislative abnegation to California’s unelected bureaucrats and politicians in the area of car sales, in particular, and/or “climate policy,” in general.  That this is happening in a nation where federalism is intended to ensure the sovereignty of not only individual states but, most importantly, the guarantor of a citizen’s individual sovereignty and liberty.  Seventeen state governments thought otherwise, and now the climate cult is tendering the bill.
That these legislatures and their governors had thought it a splendid idea to delegate their citizens’ sovereign power to California strains credulity; but in the heat of the fear of the pending climate apocalypse, some voters are willing to submit to anything – and politicians are happy to give it to them, as H.L. Mencken noted, “good and hard.” 
In the perverse world of politics, it makes sense for elected officials – especially in a term-limited state like California – to pass legislation promising a future benefit for present votes.  That they will almost certainly be out of office should unfortunate “unforeseen consequences” occur is an added benefit.  So, too, it makes sense for climate cult, Left-wing politicians in other states to tie their state’s climate policies to those of the radical, Left-wing one-party state of California.  Putting their decisions on auto-pilot makes for fewer tough votes and less accountability to the public.  Bluntly, it allows them to do less and still get re-elected.  For some states, this is still a viable means of governing, despite California’s recent decision.  But for other states, not so much.

True, the degree of opposition is a product of one’s partisanship, with some of the auto-pilot climate policy blue states fully on board and others only supporting the goals of California’s recent edict but not the means chosen to do it. 
Again, per a separate Fox Business report: “Several of the 17 states are likely to move forward with the plan, including Washington, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon and Vermont…  The mandate is facing fierce pushback in states like Minnesota, where the Minnesota Auto Dealers Association argues the weather prohibits the use of solely electric vehicles.  Colorado is also among the states where the measure faces firm opposition.”
In Virginia, which recently went Republican in their state’s elections, Governor Glenn Youngkin (R-Va.) took a strong stand for legislative sovereignty and sanity, calling the legislation installed by his Democratic predecessor and legislature “ridiculous.”  He took to Twitter to state his stance:
“In an effort to turn Virginia into California, liberal politicians who previously ran our government sold Virginia out by subjecting Virginia drivers to California vehicle laws.  Now, under that pact, Virginians will be forced to adopt the California law that prohibits the sale of gas and diesel-fueled vehicles.  I am already at work to prevent this ridiculous edict from being forced on Virginians. California’s out of touch laws have no place in our Commonwealth.”
It is an admirable stance by Governor Younkin who, again, inherited this mess from his radical Left-wing predecessors.  Even the less staunch defense of some of the now blanching blue states is a step, albeit smaller, in the right direction away from the precipice of the climate cult’s ludicrous demands.  Yes, there remains a long way to go before enough people recognize that a central fallacy of the climate cult’s ideology is that government, in conjunction with crony capitalists, can centrally plan an economy to control the weather.  But baby steps are still better than crawling backwards into a new stone age.    
But what of the others of the seventeen states who, having cavalierly tied their citizens to the California’s decisions, now stand on the precipice of the climate cult’s volcano beside the Golden State as it takes the great leap forward into the abyss to sacrifice its – and their – liberty, prosperity, and sovereignty to appease Goddess Gaia, lest she unleash her climate apocalypse upon an unrepentant world that refuses to undo the technological marvels of the Industrial Revolution, because, don’t you know, “mother earth gets angry” – or something…?
Enjoy the emission-free ride into your socialist hellscape.
A Human Events contributor, the Hon. Thaddeus G. McCotter (M.C., Ret.) represented Michigan’s 11th Congressional district from 2003-2012, and served as Chair of the Republican House Policy Committee. Not a lobbyist, he is a frequent public speaker and moderator for public policy seminars; and a Monday co-host of the "John Batchelor Radio Show," among sundry media appearances.
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