Climate Change: The Paris Summit

Let’s not allow small business and jobs to be the casualties of ill-conceived climate change policy. Our leaders present (Obama, Brown) and past (Schwarzenegger, Bloomberg) have converged in Paris to focus on climate change. There were numerous proposals and sweeping plans floated to address what is becoming an ever more critical issue. As we address this worldwide problem, we need to keep in mind that climate change cannot be solved without the input and participation of the business community, both large and small.

Yet at a seminar this past Monday, Brown said in implementing climate change solutions, “You can never underestimate the coercive power of the state… You can be sure California is going to keep innovating… keep regulating and shall I say keep taxing.”

According to the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), 45% of businesses take measures today to make their companies more energy efficient. They do so without any prodding or regulation from government. Many businesses will simply not be able to afford the taxes, fees and regulation that could go with government-imposed solutions to climate change.

A recent survey of business indicates that soaring energy costs poll right behind increasing healthcare costs as leading concerns of business leaders. Our leaders both here and abroad must be mindful that unintended consequences of climate change policy could have fallout not unlike that which we have seen with the Affordable Care Act. There are more hiccups with ACA than even Democrats had anticipated, so let’s make sure to avert such problems when crafting a broad-brush environmental policy.

Of equal concern is jobs. We cannot lose 4 or 5 good jobs for every new g​reen job. ​ Most all climate change proponents cite green jobs as the driver in addressing a climate change solution. Yes, let’s create as many green jobs as possible but we need to be smart about it. We can not create green jobs at the expense of today’s jobs. The world’s economy is simply too fragile to see many employees sit idle while business retools for green jobs.

It’s great that the world is coming together to discuss how to make our communities, cities, states and nations healthier, greener and more energy efficient. Let’s not forget though that for now, uncertainty still reigns. Climate change policy could have a dramatic effect on regions like our Central Valley, the Inland Empire, the north coast and other economically fragile areas.