A single, devastating California fire season wiped out years of efforts to cut emissions and slow global warming by turning California into the nation’s largest source of carbon dioxide.
More than 20,000 homes were lost and $200 billion in damage was done to a coastline that was a vital part of the state’s economy to build and attract tourists for hundreds of years. Millions of dollars in property was lost; homes in Santa Rosa, an artist colony and retirement center in Napa, and in San Francisco were all damaged, as was the city of Los Angeles.
California is a state that has become the poster child of the climate crisis — the nation’s largest economy and largest consumer of electricity under a policy that could require the state to buy back its power plants or cap the amount it can export.
President Trump, however, has put his foot down on that very issue, threatening to pull out of the accord that has saved the planet from the most dangerous effects of global warming in return for billions of dollars in aid to California.
A decade-long battle over the fate of the accord is about to reach a climax, as a California judge ruled that the state’s Department of Water Resources faces several weeks of legal hearings over whether it can cut emissions from the state’s major source of carbon dioxide — the power plants.
The agency has already spent nearly $9 billion on power-plant replacements over the past decade, according to calculations published by the U.S. Energy Department and industry consultants. If the agency were forced to sell the plants, it would be forced to pick up as much as $16 billion in selling costs alone, according to the calculations.
But the state’s attorney general is threatening to appeal the judge’s decision. The state’s officials are expected to file a legal request for a stay pending an appeal, arguing that the judge is wrong to let the state sell the plants for less than fair market value.
California officials are hoping to convince a federal judge that the state is already meeting its obligations under the law, and that the price of compliance amounts to the fair market value given