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CEO Column: CEO Column: You Just Knew


You just knew they would go too far. They always do. You know the syndrome. You have seen it many times. Someone raises a crisis so they can solve it and profit from it, and before long all logic is lost. Usually the crisis is about the future of civilization. Someone gets some recognition, honor and glory for proposing solutions to the crisis, and the race is on. Others join in and demand the crisis be resolved and humanity be saved. Everyone is always for saving humanity, the world or the universe. After all, not saving it would be bad for all of us. Everyone wants to be involved and get some recognition, honor and glory for themselves. 

More dramatic and radical solutions are proposed. The more the better. And, so on and so on until not only the crises, but the solutions to save the universe are so complicated and costly they are no longer practical. The solutions, devoid of all reason and logic and driven by the public’s infatuation with crises, become so misdirected that they destroy and disrupt lifestyles.

These movements all too often start in the liberal state of California, a liberal state with liberal leaders in constant search of liberal government solutions to the many crises that threaten humanity. California is also overpopulated with politicians seeking recognition, honor and glory. You just knew California would be the first mover on solving all crises in the universe. How could it be any different with Governor Jerry “Moonbeam” Brown and his administration seeking credit for anything that happens and pushing solutions that are far off the cliff of reason and logic?

And, here we go again. First Governor Moonbeam’s climate storm troopers came after the petroleum industry, the automobile industry, the electric industry, and the manufacturing industry. Now they are after California’s cows. The governor, speaking in Biblical proportions about a regulation to curb greenhouse gas-emissions from dairy farms and landfills, said, “You know when Noah went to build his ark, most of the people laughed at him. But Noah’s ark saved the world’s species from the flood. We’ve got to build our ark, too, by stopping dangerous pollutants. We’re protecting people’s lungs and their health.”

Under Governor Moonbeam’s direction, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) has enacted regulations to reduce the state’s greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. That agenda is threatened by the methane and carbon emissions from cow manure and enteric fermentation (cow flatulence and belching) at dairy farms, which account for half of the state’s methane emissions. To proceed with the solution and obtain their share of recognition, honor and glory, Democratic lawmakers (politicians again) want to impose a 40 percent reduction in dairy farm methane emissions by 2030.

The CARB explains, “If dairy farms were to manage manure in a way to further reduce methane emissions, a gallon of California milk might be the least greenhouse gas-intensive milk in the world.” That assumes that there will be any California milk produced by 2030. With the increased production costs, California milk will likely be the most expensive milk in the world. Already, some of the state’s dairy farms are converting to nut farming because of the reduced environmental oversight and to obtain profitability amid the state’s higher regulatory costs on dairy farming.

One CARB solution is to change pasture management systems used by California’s organic milk producers. Changing how organic dairy farms manage manure disposal can reduce the natural decomposition of manure but raises issues about animal welfare due to exposure to higher temperatures. The changes would also raise the enteric fermentation (natural cow gases again) emissions per unit of milk. Apparently, organic milk is not sustainable after all.

Other CARB solutions include breeding cows that belch less and pass less gas to reduce methane and carbon emissions. We will see how the anti-genetic modification environmental activists take to that suggestion. However, the end game will be that California dairy farms will be converted to other uses, and milk production will move to other states with sane regulatory systems.

All of which goes to show how misdirected even some ideas can get. It also shows to what extent climate storm troopers will go for their climate religion. It shows what happens when people lose focus on practical and reasonable solutions to problems and take positions based upon recognition, honor and glory (think Governor Moonbeam). You just knew it would happen – climate change before milk for our children.

I wish you all a merry Christmas. I hope the Holy Season provides us time to spend with our families and reflect on our many blessings. And, I hope you have a good month.



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