Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Let's keep our lead!

Protect AB32, California's landmark climate legislation! Now that action has been waylaid at the federal level, it's more important than ever that our states move ahead. As this editorial in The New York Times recounts:
"Four years ago, bipartisan majorities in the California Legislature approved a landmark clean energy bill that many hoped would serve as a template for a national effort to reduce dependence on foreign oil and mitigate the threat of climate change." However, a "well-financed coalition of right-wing ideologues, out-of-state oil and gas companies and climate-change skeptics is seeking to effectively kill that law with an initiative on the November state ballot."
The harmful measure these polluters are pushing is Proposition 23, which will delay implementation of AB32 until California's unemployment drops to what are nearly historical lows. (According to Kristin Grenfell-Eberhard of NRDC, when these politicos first submitted the bill, they proposed quashing AB32 until the state had a level of unemployment that had never even been attained in California's history! They realized this would just look really obvious (i.e. they just don't want to stop polluting), so they adjusted the number upward by a little bit). As written, Prop 23 effectively guts AB32; climate change legislation might simply never be implemented in our state if these greedy energy companies have their way!

These polluters are trying to scare people by warning of higher energy prices and the loss of jobs, but completely ignore the new jobs that are being created and the clean technology industries whose growth has accelerated. Many of these jobs cannot be exported -- for instance, solar installation on rooftops has to take place in state. And if California becomes a leader in developing clean technologies and innovating low-carbon lifestyles -- in other words, if it it leads the way it does in IT, computers and semiconductors -- then countless employers would stream into our state, attracting talent from around the world.

These oil companies and greedy, out-of-state rich people (from Texas for instance) should not be allowed to drag California down and prevent us from capturing the jobs, economic opportunity and sense of renewal that accompany our state's pioneering effort. It is heartening to see that in response, "AB 32’s many friends — led by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger of California — have therefore mounted a spirited counterattack in defense of the law. Another respected Republican, George Shultz — a cabinet member in both the Nixon and Reagan administrations — has signed on as a co-chairman of this effort. Mr. Shultz credits AB 32 for an unprecedented “outburst” of technological creativity and investment."

Let's keep our lead! Protect AB32 and promote innovation and green jobs in California! Don't let these oil companies win. Vote NO on PROP 23!

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