Viewing blog posts written by Gino DiCaro

Manufacturers can make a difference in the Capitol

Posted by Gino DiCaro, VP, Communications on July 3, 2017

CMTA never stops fighting for manufacturers in California's Legislature and regulatory agencies. One of the biggest challenges is keeping advocacy at the forefront of manufacturers’ thoughts and actions throughout the year.  We need manufacturers to engage on the most pressing issues in the Capitol so policymakers hear from the companies that invest in California and high wage jobs. We encourage active participation in CMTA's Champion advocacy engagement campaigns that range from contacting a legislative office or simply tweeting your company's concerns over an issue.

This week you should show your support for cost-effective climate change policy and a well-designed cap-and-trade system.  There will be an important vote soon on cap-and-trade and we need a chorus of manufacturers driving home the necessity of cost effectiveness in reaching California's new and demanding 2030 climate change goals. 

Click below to watch our 1-minute video on cap and trade and engage on the issue.

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California energy policy impacts manufacturing jobs

Posted by Gino DiCaro, VP, Communications on Sept. 4, 2014

This week, Chris Busch, the Director of Research at Energy Innovation: Policy and Technology LLC wrote a piece that appeared in both LiveScience and Essentially the piece praised California's bold energy policies and claimed that our state's economy is flourishing because of them.  Of specific note was a chart that showed our employment growth and a timeline of a few of California's energy requirements. Those policies include the Low Carbon Fuel Standard, the 33 percent renewable power mandate, the state's carbon cap-and-trade system, and California's building energy performance standards.

The chart compared California's total employment growth since December 2009 to that of the United States. In aggregate numbers we are in fact outpacing the country. But what types of jobs are we growing? We know from a chart we did a few weeks ago that most of our growth is coming from sectors that pay less. This week we charted the same dates and numbers as Mr. Busch but added a percentage growth for California's manufacturing job growth vs. the U.S.

The results show a large deficiency in manufacturing in California.  At an average $77,000 salary and tremendous ripple effects in the economy, can we afford to ignore such a deficiency? What state revenues are we losing out on by not keeping pace with national manufacturing growth? California's energy policies drive some of the highest industrial electricity rates in the country. Those costs will discourage manufacturers from choosing to invest in California, especially those looking to invest, re-shore, or scale up somewhere in the U.S.

Before concluding that California energy policies do not hurt jobs, we suggest that Mr. Busch and others account for the quality, as well as the quantity, of jobs we are losing and gaining in the state.


Chris Busch's chart 

Carbon Info chart on jobs


CMTA's chart with manufacturing:

CHART - US jobs and mfg vs CA jobs and mfg


* We used the same data source as Mr. Busch but we didn't include government in our total employment numbers, which might be why our percentages for "private sector" jobs are higher than their "total employment".

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No need for carbon auction says California's most independent voice

Posted by Gino DiCaro, VP, Communications on Aug. 24, 2012

This week the most independent voice in California policy analysis said the following in a letter: a cap-and-trade "allowance auction is not necessary to meet the AB 32 goal of reducing GHG emissions statewide to 1990 levels by 2020."

The impartial Legislative Analyst (LAO) responded in a decisive letter to Sen. Henry Perea who had asked three formal, basic and highly appropriate questions:

  • Is a cap and trade allowance auction necessary?  
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages? 
  • What are the steps the California Legislature would have to take to stop the November auction?

The LAO's four-page response outlined that the advantages of 100 percent free allocation (up to the cap) far outweigh the disadvantages and that "it would significantly offset more of the marginal cost increase."  

In a state where a manufacturer's operating costs are already more than 20 percent higher than the rest of the country, including 50 percent higher electricity rates, that's a very big deal.

The LAO concluded that, should the legislature choose to go this route, they simply need to direct the California Air Resources Board in statute to freely allocate allowances before its planned auction this November.

Dear Legislature. Please HELP!

Time is running out.  Billions of dollars are at stake over the next eight years.  Will California turn AB 32 implementation into a government money-grab without regard for our economy or the plausibility of the country following us on greenhouse gas reductions?  Or will the state see that everyone's goals are in fact achieved with a free allocation of credits?

Manufacturers are growing outside of California.  If the state sticks with its plan to charge for a majority of the carbon allowances and make California an even less competitive place to manufacture, the original bold and economy-cautious AB 32 greenhouse gas plan from 2006 will have morphed into a cash cow for government and an insurmountable burden for many of our leading employers.


You can read the LAO letter here

You can read Sen. Henry Perea's release here.

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When manufacturers leave, you won't hear a howl

Posted by Gino DiCaro, VP, Communications on May 16, 2012

The California Business Alliance for a Greener Economy recently retorted in Fox and Hounds that the California manufacturers "continue to cry wolf", after we wrote a piece on the needless employer costs being built in to the California Air Resources Board's carbon cap-and-trade auction. The group's response did not substantiate any miscalculations in our $3 billion cost estimates on refineries and food processors, they are just annoyed with our positions on AB 32.

Below is their piece with our responses in bold.

Title: CMTA Continues to Cry Wolf

The California Manufacturers & Technology Association is pulling tactics from the tobacco industry playbook, grasping at straws to spread misinformation about the state’s landmark clean energy law (AB 32) in “California’s Cap-and-Trade Auction Creates Billions in Needless Costs.”


CMTA response: We are looking forward to learning where our numbers are wrong or misinformed.

Let’s take a look back: CMTA hated AB 32 when it was first developed. They formed the so-called AB 32 Implementation Group to pushback progress each step of the way. They supported Proposition 23 to avoid the standards and kill competition. And they’re still at it, dreaming up worse case scenarios to keep California addicted to the old, dirty, dying fuels of the past.


CMTA response: You must not have been around California for very long. By 2006 California manufacturers were already the most energy efficient in the country and paid electricity rates 50 percent higher than the rest of the country. Added costs from AB 32 will cause production and emissions to “leak” to less regulated states and countries, hurting the environment. To minimize leakage, we advocate that AB 32 be implemented in a cost effective and technologically feasible manner, and any true environmentalist would agree. Still waiting for information that proves us wrong that there are billions in needless costs.


But poll [after] poll shows broad public support for AB 32 for a reason: it’s an economic engine for California, attracting $3.5 billion in private clean-tech investments. Since AB 32 was passed more than five years ago, it has propelled clean energy into the spotlight and ensured its place as a bright spot in our economy.


CMTA response: Actually, clean-tech investment was high even before AB 32 passed. Too bad clean-tech investments in California are not translating into manufacturing jobs for the middle class, and green jobs are not any higher here than Texas. Our polling shows that the public generally supports AB 32 but are not willing to pay higher energy or gasoline costs. Hoping to see something soon about where we are wrong on the billions of dollars!


Let’s face it, big business groups have a long history of claiming that any given regulation will drive them out of business and/or create an economic slowdown. These predictions of gloom are seldom realized.


CMTA response: It’s actually pretty gloomy in the manufacturing sector. Lost over 630,000 jobs in the last 10 years, more than the national average. California is among the worst in the last five years for new manufacturing facilities and expansions per capita. Starting to think there isn’t going to be any credible argument that we are wrong about the billions of dollars.


And by putting a price on carbon, AB 32 invests polluter fees into the transition to cleaner and less expensive energy sources.


CMTA response: Now we are getting somewhere! But you are confused – the “polluter fees” are not necessary to “put a price on carbon” - that is accomplished by freely distributing permits under a declining cap and allowing trading of permits. The sale of permits simply imposes a huge new tax. You seem reluctant to put a dollar figure on the “polluter fees”. Billions of dollars perhaps?


I represent thousands of California businesses and they understand that market-based solutions – like a cap and trade program – are the most effective ways to send clear signals to companies and investors. Those signals create a financial incentive for reducing pollution, and a profit motive for developing clean technologies.


CMTA response: Right! A cap and trade program will accomplish AB 32 goals. We don’t need “polluter fees” to raise extra revenue that comes from imposing a multi-billion new tax on manufacturers. We might be getting somewhere here!


But don’t take my (or California’s) word for it. Look at cap and trade in the northeast. The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative generated $1.6 billion in net economic benefits to the region with the average industrial consumer saving $2,500 per year.


CMTA response: Apples and oranges. RGGI is electric generation only, it doesn’t directly regulate manufacturing, natural gas and gasoline as we are doing in California. California has been doing energy efficiency in the electric sector for decades. We have lost track of the billions of dollars, could we get back to that?


AB 32 is not just one policy, and it’s about more than the proceeds of one auction. It’s a portfolio of strategies to transition California to a clean energy economy.


CMTA response: Sorry, ignoring the multi-billion dollar tax from multiple auctions and surrounding it with other policies won’t make it go away.


Yet, after being proven wrong time and again, CMTA continues to cry wolf. But I’ve never heard a howl.


CMTA response: You won’t hear a howl. Manufacturers will leave the state silently, without a word, 630,000 jobs and counting.

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Moody's says climate change rules are emerging risk for California refiners

Posted by Gino DiCaro, VP, Communications on March 23, 2012

Only time will tell how much AB 32 will actually cost California.

Since our landmark global warming bill passed in 2006 there has been no shortage of guessing about the costs and benefits of mandating greenhouse gas reductions on California's economy. Now all the rules are in place and experts are sharpening their pencils and assessing the outlook. The most recent regulation, cap and trade, requires manufacturing facilities, refineries, and large public agencies to hold “allowances” for their emissions starting in 2013. California is preparing for the first auction of allowances in August.

Cap-and-Trade joins one of the earliest regulations under AB 32, the Low Carbon Fuel Standard to require more biofuels and alternative transportation fuels in the mix.  The third policy to purchase 33 percent of our electricity from renewable sources was adopted last year.

Now, instead of guessing, we can see early indicators of higher future costs. Last week the independent credit ratings company  -- Moody's Investors Service --  reported that California's rules create an emerging risk to the operating costs, competitiveness and growth of the in-state refineries.  This is information important to bankers and investors as they figure out how much risk is involved in loaning or investing dollars into a business.

And after paying almost $4.50 per gallon for gas this month (highest in the country, sans Alaska and Hawaii) every California consumer should be concerned about "emerging risks" on California refineries.

Here’s what Moody’s said:

On the overall rules

 "CA's move to implement new standards for greenhouse gas emissions will be credit negative for refiners in the state."

"Refiner's operating costs will rise."

"The new rules could discourage refiners from making big strategic investments in CA and could cause certain higher-cost refineries to close"

On greenhouse gas cap-and trade rules

"Stationary emissions will cost the refining industry from $325 million to $1.2 billion annually by 2020."

 "We also assume only limited capital investments in carbon offset projects by refiners."

 "Over the near to medium term, refiners will probably bear these costs, with no ability to pass them through to the price of the fuel."

 "Over the longer term, as the cost burden rises, producers will more effectively pass these costs through to product prices."

"We estimate the total annual cost of the emission reductions associated with transportation fuels [under the cap] by 2020 at anywhere between $3.7 billion and $13.5 billion."

"Under our base case assumptions [for the transportation fuels cap], this would indicate an increase in refined product costs of about 22 cents per gallon.

On the Low Carbon Fuel Standard

 "We would expect the prices of these blendstocks [from the low carbon fuel standard] to rise, unless CARB offers a subsidy." 

"Many industry participants believe that the targeted carbon-intensity reductions cannot be achieved after 2015 from the biofuel blendstocks now available."

On the rest of the country falling in line (therefore making California more competitive)

"Given the current political environment and the state of the U.S. economy, we do not expect to see a federal cap-and-trade program adopted nationwide over the near to medium term."

Meanwhile New Mexico abandoned its cap-and-trade program last month, one of the last remaining holdouts in the United States.  New Mexico Environmental Improvement Board Chairman Deborah Peacock said,  "the intent was that all these states would be doing this cap and trading, and everyone’s dropped (out) except for California and New Mexico. That, to me, was very significant."

New Mexico saw early indicators of high costs that we have ignored, so far.

(You can purchase the Moody's report  here)


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