California admits its climate plan enriches wealthy and impoverishes poor

wildfire under electrical transmission line
a california wildfire burns under a high voltage electrical transmission line My Photo Buddy/Getty Images/iStockphoto

California admits its climate plan enriches wealthy and impoverishes poor

At 300 pages, plus appendices and supporting materials, California’s “Scoping Plan for Achieving Carbon Neutrality” is not a light read. But it might be an enjoyable one if you are a conservative or a California resident.

Buried among the various plans to decarbonize the nation‘s most populous state in an unrealistic time frame is a tacit admission of which California native Jennifer Hernandez took note: Climate change mitigation is a form of systemic racism, if you believe in that sort of thing.


On page 125, the document begins this admission by pointing out that on aggregate, this plan will cause California households to lose $600 million in income through 2035. However, those losses will not be distributed evenly. Households making less than $100,000 per year will lose a total of $4.1 billion in income, with the poor hit hardest. But residents making more than $100,000 will gain $3.5 million as a result of this decarbonization plan.

California’s black and Hispanic residents are disproportionately lower-income. Therefore, the report admits on page 143:

Because more than 60% of households in the race/ethnicity categories of Hispanic, Black alone, Native Hawaiian (HI) or Pacific Islander, American Indian or Alaskan Native, Other, and Two or More make less than $100,000 per year, these populations generally are likely to experience reduced income. White and Asian households will generally experience both increased and decreased income because these households are distributed more evenly across all four income groups.

In short, this multidecade planning document admits that climate change mitigation plans will have what liberals like to call a “disparate impact” on nonwhite Californians, and a very negative impact at that. This, in turn, means that climate action is an example of what they like to call “systemic racism” — again, if you believe in such things. And the Democrats who run California most certainly claim to do.

Climate fanaticism is nothing new in California. But the admission that climate policies have such trade-offs — in this case, worsening systemic racism by disproportionately harming the poor, black, and brown — is indeed new. And the much-vaunted climate plan has no plan at all to rectify this crime against “equity.”

Over the years, California has chosen to subordinate its economy to fever dreams about the world ending unless the economy is rapidly decarbonized. And you can understand the millenarian thinking: If the world really is about to end, then who cares about the poor? They’ll all be dead anyway, like the rest of us, unless immediate climate action is taken.

But given that this isn’t the reality, and that California’s ruling Democrats know that it isn’t the reality, they seem to have trapped themselves between the climate alarmism of their political base and what’s left of their party’s stated (perhaps feigned) concern for lower-income and nonwhite households. Are they willing to persist in something they themselves define as structural racism, just to placate their environmental extremist base?

The cost of living in California is high by choice, including the choice to overpay for electricity and gasoline out of fear that the world will end otherwise. But now, the state’s green bureaucracy has walked right up to the line of admitting that this choice creates major disadvantages for people at the bottom of the Left’s victim hierarchy, to the benefit of the wealthiest and whitest segments of the population. In other words, their environmentalism is just one more instance of systemic racism.

Maybe they could all use a few diversity, equity, and inclusion trainings to reeducate them.


© 2023 Washington Examiner

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