Apparently Jerry Brown didn’t get the memo. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is 95% certain that humans are causing global warming. This level of certainty is so categorical that CNN felt quite comfortable in using the long-discredited “hockey stick” graph to illustrate the warming trend.
Granted, you may be as skeptical about that claim as many scientists are (some are more than skeptical). But California is not skeptical. California has bought into the anthropogenic global warming/climate change/climate disruption/OK, something-bad-with-the-word-climate-in-it narrative, hook, line, and sinker. California bases its state policies on energy use, public infrastructure, and carbon emissions on the Anthropogenic Climate Something narrative, which for convenience we will refer to henceforth as ACS.
California thinks it’s bad to have more people using more energy and emitting more CO2. It’s better to have fewer people using less energy and emitting less CO2. Frankly, the whole world should see things this way, but if it won’t, at least California can. In the service of its all-in belief in ACS, California has displaced industry and energy production to other states, exporting businesses and jobs and allowing infrastructure to crumble.
For some reason, the state has done this while encouraging immigration from abroad with an enticing welfare network and explicitly targeted preferences for the undocumented. (Ensuring that the immigrants have yards to mow and houses to clean, California has also, for nearly 40 years, kept property taxes low enough that at least some hardy middle-class salarymen can still afford to take out mortgages in the state. This last condition may change in the foreseeable future, if Republicans can’t elect a blocking vote in the state assembly in November.* That’s another story, but it folds in nicely with the theme of this post, which is that California regularly reaches around and slaps itself silly with policy inconsistencies.)
If you survey all these developments and the first idea that pops into your head is “high-speed rail,” you probably already sit on a California council, committee, or blue-ribbon panel. You may consider it at least interesting that high-speed rail is predicted to “harm air quality, aquatic life, and endangered species across the Central Valley.” But your commitment to saving the planet by prescribing everyday life for future Californians is such that you don’t cavil at proposing to override California’s own air-quality standards, to make sure the $68 billion rail project remains, as it were, on track.
The inconsistency doesn’t bother you – as it doesn’t bother those who lobby for immigrant-friendly policies while lobbying just as hard for ACS-based policies that can only reach their goals if there are fewer Californians, fewer businesses, and fewer jobs. I’m not the only one to notice this. I may not agree with the general premise of Californians for Population Stabilization (CAPS) that there are just too darn many of us, but I appreciate their logical consistency in pointing out that a welcome mat laid out for immigrants makes it harder to meet the emission goals of AB 32.**
Which brings us to Jerry Brown and the overpopulation bill. CAPS may bird-dog Governor Brown’s policy moves on illegal immigrants, but who’s keeping tabs on his other ACS-related actions? To wit: the overpopulation bill he signed earlier this month, which requires health insurance plans in California to cover “fertility” treatments for same-sex couples.
To be perfectly accurate, of course, the requirement is to cover conception support for individuals (and apparently their contracted “surrogates”?) whose sexual partnerships are inherently, inescapably, by definition infertile. There are interesting concerns that may arise with this legislation, such as how health insurance (or any other institutional method, for that matter) might ensure the availability to gay male couples of females who are willing to bear children for them. Indeed, that concern itself raises another one: how “fertility” is to be defined, given the intricate complex of assumptions about the voluntary behavior of others that lies between a gay male couple and artificial “procreation.”
(The law’s applicability to lesbian couples is more directly obvious, but it makes no distinction in that regard, and presumably none is intended to be made in its regulatory enforcement.)
As certain as we may be that each and every permutation of artificial “fertility” will wind up in court at some point, the issue in this post is the burden such expanded “fertility” places on an ACS-imperiled planet. If California needs desperately to reduce its carbon emissions – and yet has already incurred the emission-boosting burdens of high-speed rail and an increasing immigrant population – wouldn’t it make more sense to just encourage same-sex couples to celebrate their natural infertility? Or, at the very least, to encourage them to adopt children rather than adding new ones to the population?
Alan Weisman, whose CNN op-ed was the first link in this post, is adamant that our ACS-besieged planet can’t handle another billion people. It we were serious about managing our way out of a human-induced climate crisis, California certainly wouldn’t be promoting new births with insurance mandates.
* Susan Shelley is running in District 45, in the San Fernando Valley. She beat out other primary candidates to get to the runoff for the District 45 seat, from which Bob Blumenfield (D-Woodland Hills) resigned in July when he was elected to the LA City Council. If Susan’s Democratic opponent is elected, Democrats will have the majority they need in both houses of the state legislature to increase property tax and other tax rates, essentially undoing the protection of Prop 13.
** Note: CAPS is a left-leaning group – in spite of its posture on illegal immigration – with roots in left-wing environmentalism. See the biographies of its board members and almost everyone in the list on its advisory board.