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Know your ballot: Vote no on Proposition 23

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During my internship at a television network, we were told that in an effort to be more environmentally responsible, the company was no longer going to stock paper coffee cups.  In other words, hang on to your mug because come tomorrow morning, you’re going to need it.

Well, I didn’t bring a mug and  I still haven’t brought one in (it’s like remembering to bring my reusable bags to the grocery store – never happens) and I regret it every time I walk to the coffee maker and realize (again!) there aren’t any paper coffee cups.  I walk away frustrated and completely inconvenienced by this new rule.

My anger lasts only moments being quickly replaced by relief that there are people in this world who are enviro-sponsible, forcing me to do the right thing, or at least not the wrong thing, so my future children have a planet to inherit.

And in the spirit of coerced enviro-sponsibility, we must vote no on Proposition 23 this November.

Proposition 23 is a ballot measure that would suspend the Global Warming Solutions Act or Assembly Bill 32, a sweeping environmental law passed by California lawmakers in 2006, until the state unemployment rate is 5.5 percent or less for one year.

Proponents of the measure argue the financial costs are too high for businesses that must implement changes to comply with AB 32, thus stunting job growth and the economic well being of Californians.

AB 32 mandates the state’s greenhouse gas emissions be reduced to their 1990 levels by 2020 and, to achieve this goal, many industries have to spend millions of dollars retrofitting or replacing machines and vehicles in order to lower their carbon emissions.

Also, as of 2012, a cap-and-trade program will begin and companies will be given a certain number of permits capping their allowable emissions.  If they want to go over their allotment, they will have to purchase more permits from businesses that have not exhausted their supply.

To be sure, AB 32 will cost industries with high carbon emissions. It is financially inconvenient and it may make it harder for them to expand their businesses and hire new employees.

However, this pioneering legislation has put California at the forefront of a rapidly growing, highly lucrative and socially responsible new industry – clean technology, or what I’d like to call “the future.”

In an annual report called the 2009 Green Innovation Index, the non-partisan organization Next 10 found nearly $7 billion in venture capital was invested in California clean technology companies from 2005 to 2009.  In 2008, California attracted $3.3 billion in clean technology venture capital – more than all the other states combined.

The report also stated that in the past five years, jobs in the clean technology sector have increased by five percent while the total number of jobs in California has only increased one percent.

So, what’s all the talk about AB 32 being bad for business?  Well, it all depends on what business you’re in.

For example, it is bad for oil giants like Valero Energy Corp. and Tesoro Oil Corp. who have contributed 75 percent of the money funding the Yes on Proposition 23 campaign. They want you to think that social responsibility and economic prosperity are mutually exclusive.

Voting no on Proposition 23 will make them wish they had put that $4.5 million in campaign financing towards the clean technology they need to get them off the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s top 10 polluters list.

In fact, voting no on Proposition 23 sends them a message that their smoggy money would have been better spent just about anywhere else.

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16 Comments

  1. Bellbro Nov 2, 2010

    Our state is already seriously in debt with no realistic solution in sight. Does anyone realize that to fail to postpone the global warming act, our state would incur more debt that we may never recover from? In the last two years since implementation of the global warming act (SB32) in California, hundreds of thousands of jobs have been lost because the sudden compliance demand on businesses was more than they could afford. Just the requirement to upgrade certain diesel engines in trucks and heavy equipment, forced hundreds of construction companies and trucking companies out of business or out of state. These are companies that were already compliant with the strictest pollution laws in the world. The loss of jobs and commensurate revenue combined with extraordinary taxes on the citizens of California is more than we can bear. Proposition 23 is a safe and sane action to postpone the final solution act to a time when we can afford it. Mark these words, if this proposition fails, in less than a year we will all regret it.

  2. Mark Aug 26, 2010

    The reality may be that the AB32 requirements really are too strict or cannot be met in the given timeframe for a lot of businesses. What I know from the ground level, people (family/friends) who work installing energy related equipment, is that while they agree the intention of green technology is a great thing, stricter environmental laws are causing companies that they deal with to simply move out of the state. I’m not suggesting that it’s a simple, easy thing to move your company out of state, but for many businesses it would be a better solution to move and keep producing the products they already have, using existing practices rather than spending effort/money (both of which are usually scarce) to renovate their manufacturing practices in order to meet new requirements. All this is hearsay of course. Does anyone out there really know how many businesses would move vs how many stay or will be created as a result of stricter laws? I doubt it. Most people here just like to rant and rave and let out frustration…oh that could be me too.

  3. Earl Richards Aug 26, 2010

    The California Jobs Initiative (CJI) is an oil corporation farce and fraud. There is no connection, whatsoever, between greenhouse gas emission reduction and the loss of jobs. This notion is an insult to the intelligence of the people of California. In fact, there is job growth in the clean,renewable energy industry. Chevron employs 65,000 worldwide and CJI is not going to change this. The only jobs created by the oil industry are clean-up jobs after oil spills and deep water, blow-outs and pump-handler jobs. CJI will make fantastic profits for the oil industry, increase air pollution, especially in communities around their refineries, and there will not be lower gas prices. Both Valero and Tesoro are super Enrons.

  4. Una Blogger Aug 25, 2010

    Kind of funny how the greedy, and the conservatives always threaten jobs as a repercussion with not following their policy.

    Seems like the future is not staying stuck in the past, especially not one as destructive as Petrochem.

    By forging ahead on the innovation front, CA stands to gain more than the few cents it would cost per gallon to protect our future and our health.

    My question is, how do the greedy continue to get the poor and conservative to do their bidding?

  5. Eric Aug 25, 2010

    This article frames the question all wrong. AB 32 isn’t about having to deal with less and using reusable bags at the grocery store. Ideas like that help but are a drop in the bucket compared to what change is actually needed.

    The clean tech revolution is about creating a new future for our country and the world. It is about innovating new ideas, which allow us to live and work more sustainably. This won’t be done by conservation efforts alone, but aided by the help of new technologies. The creation of these technologies will be one of the main drivers of economic growth in the future. Countries around the world are fighting to gain a lead in the clean tech industry because of the vast potential it has to improve the quality of life in a country and stimulate economic growth.

    Why would we want California, which is already leading this effort in America to miss out on the extra tax revenue from new businesses being formed in our state? Why do we want to pay the added costs of caring for the children who develop respiratory ailments because of poor air quality from burning coal and natural gas for electricity?

    1. James Aug 25, 2010

      Why would we want California to spend a billion dollars subsidising a clean energy initiative only to have the businesses that benefit from it immediately leave the state because we have enormous tax rates?

      How many children are developing respiratory ailments from poor air quality? Not many that I know. Certainly a lot less than from second-hand smoke.

  6. James Aug 25, 2010

    What’s worse, killing a few trees or having people unable to feed their families because the environmentalists were allowed to wreck the economy?

    1. Mike Aug 25, 2010

      James,
      I’m not sure where you get your info, but this is not a “tree hugging” issue. I work in the Engineering sector, and the only folks who are hiring are in the Cleantech sector. Why? Because Billions of investment dollars are flowing into that sector. That creates jobs. If 23 stops, you will see tens of thousands of jobs lost. I don’t just read it, I LIVE it. Don’t believe the BS. 23 will kill 10 times the jobs that it says it would save. Where do you see tomorrow’s jobs coming from? Think about it.

    2. Man-in-Hat Aug 26, 2010

      James,
      If you think the environmentalists killed the economy, than clearly the admissions standards for this school are lower than I thought. You may want to consider moving from whatever rock you’re currently living under.

  7. Lou Aug 24, 2010

    Using $4.5 million on campaigning is bad business when it could have been used to comply with their environmental responsibility mandates or creating a few jobs, which I assume will alleviate some unemployment woes.

    Environmental responsibility (which is very crucial to our future) is NOT on the top the collective mindset. Policies that put it there only serve to benefit long-term goals. And please don’t fall prey to the “slippery-slope” notion.

    Oh, and there’s no such thing as freedom; this isn’t your ancestor’s America.

  8. Common Sense Aug 24, 2010

    QUOTE:
    ————————————-
    My anger lasts only moments being quickly replaced by relief that there are people in this world who are enviro-sponsible, forcing me to do the right thing
    ————————————–

    You enjoy having other people tell you what’s right and what’s wrong, and mandating every little action in your life? What breed of sheep are you? I know CSUN’s admissions standards have gone down recently, but really… this heat wave must be melting your brain under all that wool! baaaaaaa

    Do you know why California leads the nation in clean energy investments? Because it’s the biggest state! It has the most people! Of course there will be more money spent here. It has nothing to do with AB32. AB32 is a killer of jobs and a killer of freedom.

    1. Eric Aug 25, 2010

      “Do you know why California leads the nation in clean energy investments? Because it’s the biggest state! It has the most people! Of course there will be more money spent here. It has nothing to do with AB32. AB32 is a killer of jobs and a killer of freedom.”

      Just have to write a quick note on how wrong this argument statement is. In the second quarter of 2010, California received $980 million (67 percent total share) in of VC investment. The next closest state was Massachusetts ($124 million, 8 percent).

      1. Una Blogger Aug 25, 2010

        Thank you Eric. As always, just because someone can state facts (“Common Sense”), doesn’t mean they should, or even that they’ve done any more thinking on the problem than what they were told to say.

        California has a long history of progressive thought and innovation, the facts and numbers are undeniable.

        The religious and programmed should soon find that the future is not such a friendly place, unless the conservatives continue to keep them in the past.

        1. Harrison Leonard Aug 26, 2010

          If you are going to attack my column, you should address me personally. I’m curious to know what “facts” you are convinced I’ve distorted, and I’d be happy to discuss them at length with you.

          1. Harrison Leonard Aug 26, 2010

            Whoops. I thought you were referring to my column and not the commenter above. Though I suspect you would have a lot to say about my column, as wel…

      2. Common Sense Aug 27, 2010

        Eric,

        Massachusetts does not have the combination of year-round sun and wind, large open tracts of land and large population that California does. No state does; that’s why California has the greatest investment in alternative energy. It’s not as feasible to build a wind or solar farm in Massachusetts.

        Jobs are leaving California by the thousands; if we are going to implement these draconian environmentalist laws, it should be done at a time when we can afford to do so.

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