Efforts to Repeal California’s Global Warming Solutions Act
The landmark Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (Assembly Bill 32) that put California forward as the nation’s leader in reducing greenhouse gas ( GHG) emissions with the goal to achieve 1990 levels by 2020 is in jeopardy of being postponed indefinitely. Proposition 23, the California Jobs Initiative, seeks to suspend AB 32, claiming that unemployment in California and the undertaking of GHG emission reduction laws are inextricably linked. Supporters, sponsored by oil companies Tesoro and Valero, state that California has lost manufacturing jobs and that industrial growth in California lags compared to other states, a situation they say will worsen unless AB 32 is stopped.
Proposition 23 states that AB 32’s provisions to reduce GHG emissions should be suspended “until such time as the unemployment rate in California is 5.5% or less for four consecutive calendar quarters.” Unfortunately, according to the California Department of Labor and Employment Development Department, “an unemployment rate of 5.5 percent for four consecutive quarters has happened only three times in the past three decades.”
Opponents of the California Jobs Initiative, including CCSE, disagree that AB 32 has cost Californians jobs; in fact, they believe that green jobs and interest in green investments has increased as a result of AB 32, which has created a stable platform from which to build a green economy. According to Riggs Eckelberry of Origin Oil in an editorial for the Los Angeles Daily News, “Since [ AB 32’s] passage, clean tech venture capital in California has skyrocketed, with investments of more than $6.5 billion. As the economy slowed between 2007 and 2008, total employment fell by one percent, but clean tech jobs continued to grow five percent.”
Legislative attempts to limit the attainment of AB 32’s goals have also been introduced. For example, SB 1120 proposes to impose additional requirements on the development of GHG emissions cap-and-trade agreements, including a requirement that all southwestern states participate in a single program. AB 1263 would render AB 32’s regulations inoperative without explanation of the method by which this would be achieved.
AB 32 addresses Californians’ desire to clean up GHG emissions by supporting reduction goals for the transportation, electricity and energy, industrial, forestry, agricultural and waste sectors through government and private efforts, including a GHG cap-and-trade program. The California Air Resources Board ( ARB) includes early action measures and longer term efforts, culminating in a GHG reduction to 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. The ARB Climate Change Scoping Plan states that economic analysis for each proposed reduction effort will be included. American Recovery and Reinvestment Act ( ARRA) programs related to energy investment were premised on AB 32 goals and will aid in the creation of green jobs and investment in green energy efforts.
AB 32 will reduce GHGs in the state, created a model for other states to follow and has already produced green jobs. Proposition 23 will appear on California’s November ballot. To continue supporting AB 32, please consider voting no on Proposition 23.
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