The debate over California's climate change law, AB32, is as polarizing as the issue of global warming itself. AB32 mandates statewide reductions in greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. That's where Proposition 23 comes in. Also known as the California Jobs Initiative, Prop 23 aims to hold off the implementation of AB23 until the state's unemployment rate drops to 5.5%
This week the state's largest utility, Pacific Gas and Electric Co. announced its opposition to Prop 23. In explaining its position, Peter Darbee, PG&E's chairman and CEO says,"studies show that unchecked climate growth could cost California's economy alone tens of billions of dollars a year in losses in agriculture, tourism, and other sectors." He also cited the job creation AB32 means for California.
What kind of jobs is he talking about?
The California Air Resources Board (CARB) is the government agency charged with determining how the goals of AB23 will be reached.
Who are the people that make up CARB?
Proponents of Prop 23 say they are an unelected and unaccountable board of 1176 employees. Seems many of the jobs created under AB32 will be for state workers (union?) needed to oversee and enforce all of the many rules, standards, and laws required to keep AB32 working.
Consider the cost of replacing or retrofitting gas nozzles, trucks, SUV's, tractors, combines and the multitude of other vehicles and equipment mandated for change under AB32.
Been to the Central Valley lately? It's a dust bowl and there's a big sign beside the highway that points that out. The farmers need help. How will they pay for the many "upgrades" required to bring them to compliance?
Even with incentives, AB32 is a costly endeavor. What's to keep companies and businesses from leaving the state? How much might that cost California? Could the state be sacrificing a lot of tax generating companies on the altar of "going green"?
Costs of doing business are ultimately passed on to the consumer. How much of an incentive will the average Joe get for trading in the truck for a smaller more energy efficient, more expensive vehicle?
In November the voters will decide which way the state should go toward reducing greenhouse emissions. Stay the course with AB32 or go the way of Prop 23.