If the idea of soaking up the sun in California appeals to you, you now have an extra reason to do so: it’s good for the environment. According to liberal blogger Matt Yglesias:

[C]oastal California is one of the most ecologically sustainable places on the planet for a person to live. Californias sources of electricity are fairly green and Californias weather is amazing so people who live there burn way less fossil fuels heating and cooling their homes, shops, and offices than do people in most of the country. . . . The average California resident emits a bit over half the national average in CO2 emissions. Under the circumstances, we should be trying to make it as easy and affordable for as large share of the American population as possible to move to California.

Yglesias’ broader point, which is perfectly correct, is that environmental restrictions can’t be evaluated in a vacuum. When the EPA clamps down mercury emissions from U.S. cement manufacturers, the result is that you get more cement imported from China, where less efficient kilns tend to emit larger amounts of mercury. Similarly, when the City of San Francisco restricts the development of new housing, the resulting high home prices can lead to something equally horrifying to the liberal mind: “When people cant afford to live in the Bay Area, they move to Houston instead.”

I was in Los Angeles a few months ago, and despite being a proud Texan I have to admit the weather is better there than in Houston. And yet, every year tens of thousands are fleeing the beautiful weather of southern California for the Texas heat. According to Census Bureau data, 68,959 people moved from California to Texas in 2010 (roughly double the 36,582 moving from Texas to California). Texas has consistently gained several hundred thousand new residents a year over the last decade, whereas California has lost 3.6 million in net migration since 1990. Businesses, in particular, have been eager to relocate, citing California’s high taxes and burdensome regulatory environment as factors.

Stopping this outflow will require California to get its fiscal house in order. Reform pubic pensions, lower taxes, keep spending in line with revenues, and eliminate regulations that harass business and restrict development. In short, it needs to become more like Texas. If liberals find this distasteful, they can always console themselves with the thought that they aren’t just saving a state, they are helping to save the planet.

– Josiah Neeley