In its innaugural issue of Ecology Law Currents, the Berkeley School of Law has published an article, "Relative Risk: Global Warming and Imported Fossil Fuels vs. Nuclear Power," by California Assemblyman Chuck DeVore (R). The pull quote:
California is the most electrically efficient state in America and the third most energy efficient state overall. Our environmental laws are world-class. The result is that a unit of goods or services produced in California does less harm to the environment here than it would were it produced in almost any other place on earth. But making California less competitive has the unintended impact of moving economic activity to other states or nations with less environmentally friendly economies. Many Californians concerned about air and water pollution were fine with the loss of manufacturing jobs in exchange for improving California’s environment. But to the extent that global warming is caused by greenhouse gas emissions, this California-centric strategy fails miserably. Any production of goods or services lost to Nevada or Arizona sets us back in the struggle to reduce global GHG emissions – and a loss to coal-fired China or India is far, far worse.(A tip of the hat to Flash Report.)
We gain nothing by setting standards for GHG emissions, only to see those emissions effectively moved out of California due to our state becoming a prohibitively expensive place to do business. To make a truly lasting impact on GHG emissions, California needs to secure a reliable and lower-cost source of baseload power. Today’s technology dictates that the only source of such power is nuclear.