California, which touts the most aggressive climate policies in the country, steadfastly refuses to do the one thing that would do the most for carbon emissions: permit new housing construction in green friendly areas. Instead, they pass policies like requiring solar panels on all new homes that simply jack the price of housing up even higher. This is the subject of my latest article over at City Journal. Here’s an excerpt:
The state’s rationale for imposing the solar directive is, of course, climate change. But as New York Times climate reporter Brad Plumer tweeted, adding 10,000 new apartments in San Francisco would reduce carbon-dioxide emissions in the state by three times as much as the solar-panel mandate because urban apartment-dwellers use less energy than single-home occupants. California is already a green-friendly state. Building more housing that lets more people live in California, even at current energy-efficiency levels, would have a positive effect on emissions. The alternative is forcing people to move out of state and into more polluting jurisdictions.
State legislators made an attempt to expand housing availability with Senate Bill 827, which would have preempted local zoning rules by requiring cities to allow midrise construction near rail stations and major bus stops. The legislation should have pleased climate-change activists by facilitating the construction of new transit-oriented development and increasing density. But powerful environmental groups in California, including the Sierra Club, lined up against the bill, which failed in committee.
Click through to read the whole thing.