California’s Proposed Car Ban is the Perfect Mix of Hubris and Silliness

SACRAMENTO — It’s about time that members of Congress and the California Legislature got really serious about combating the nation’s pollution problem. Just as Jonathan Swift had a “modest proposal” to keep poor Irish children from being a burden to their families and their country (by selling them to wealthy English people as food), I, too, have a modest proposal for dealing with the unconscionable level of pollutants that are emitted in the U.S. to produce electricity. Let’s propose a plan to shut down the nation’s power plants.

The facts are unmistakable: An environmental group in 2009 reported that the “nation’s power plants emitted 2.56 billion tons of global warming pollution … which is equivalent to the pollution from nearly 450 million of today’s cars — nearly three times the number of cars registered in the United States in 2007.” Even cleaner natural-gas fired plants, which have become more prevalent in ensuing years, “release 21 — 120 times more methane than earlier estimates,” according to a summary of a Purdue University/Environmental Defense Fund report from last year.

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