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California Voters Reject Prop 23, Save Climate Law

After a long battle of words and millions of dollars spent on both sides, California voters defeated Proposition 23 in Tuesday’s election, which would have effectively put California’s climate law on hold.

Proposition 23 would have prevented California’s climate law AB 32 from being enacted until the state unemployment rate fell below 5.5 percent for four consecutive fiscal quarters, which is now hovering around 12 percent.

Opponents of the initiative raised more than $30 million to defeat it, which was three times as much as proponents, reports the Los Angeles Times.

Notable donors to the “No on 23” campaign in the last few weeks included Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, Google co-founder Sergey Brin, Intel co-founder Gordon Moore and “Avatar” filmmaker James Cameron, reports Reuters.

Proposition 23 was largely funded by Texas oil giants Valero and Tesoro, which raised about $10 million.

The defeat of Proposition 23 is seen as a big victory for Silicon Valley investors, who spent millions of dollars defending California’s AB 32 law and protecting their investments in green technologies ranging from solar power to electric cars, reports Reuters.

It’s also viewed as a turning point for the U.S. in terms of whether the nation will back away from supporting stronger climate change laws or move toward stronger greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions, according to the article.

Tuesday’s election of Jerry Brown as California governor also is viewed as another climate win. Brown supports a target of deriving 33 percent of California’s electricity from renewable sources like solar and wind, reports Reuters.

Both ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability USA and the Apollo Alliance released statements supporting the defeat of Prop 23 in California.

“During a time of deep economic despair, AB 32 has been instrumental in generating new businesses, which have led to hundreds of thousands of new jobs in the clean energy industry,” stated ICLEI USA, executive director, Martin Chávez.

“AB 32 has proven to be one of the few bright economic lights in a grim era marked by declining revenue, steep budget cuts, and a stalled economy. Despite a stubborn 12.6 unemployment rate, Californians remain committed to the environment and they voted for clean energy as the path to a strong economic recovery and a healthier future,” he added.

“We are absolutely thrilled – and not surprised – that Californians said “no” to Big Oil’s Proposition 23,” stated Cathy Calfo, executive director for Apollo Alliance.

“The national Apollo Alliance is headquartered in the heart of San Francisco: we have seen firsthand what the clean energy economy can do for a state with unemployment hovering above 12%. As unemployment surged at the outset of the recession, jobs in California’s clean energy economy actually grew by five percent,” she added.

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7 thoughts on “California Voters Reject Prop 23, Save Climate Law

  1. The scam continues,thousands of good paying jobs will be lost for a few low paying green jobs. Grab your wallets the unchecked EPA will hit you harder than the IRS.

  2. I would hope California is heralding a turning point for the US in regards to climate law, but coming from Florida it certainly feels like a long way off. California has always been exceptional with regards to environmental policy and I don’t think their stance is going to be commonplace any time too soon. The Carbonfund.org blog kind of highlights the logic behind getting the whole country on board: job creation.


  3. @jim,

    I am curious which jobs are going to be lost and why? I have heard that statement several times, but I dont seem to understand the logic. This is just making companies track another element of thier operations like waste water, accounting, HR, etc…

    If you have limits that you need to adhere too, how does that equal less people working? Are companies going to lay people off because their operations are so messed up they cant meet requirements? If that is the case, and that is why the Jobs disappear, then A, the standards need to be changed but the concept and practice is still valid. or B, that facility is not fit to continue doing business and is a danger to the community and the greater good. Its not just about dollars and sense; Its about the long term and greater good. Expand your mind and realize that money isnt the most important thing.

  4. Neither Jim nor Rick appear to understand the regulations promulgated under California’s AB-32, particularly Cap and Trade. The draft final rule was published only this week, and I’d imagine that neither has waded through the almost 500 page ISOP. Jim: climate change is real and is a threat to life as we know it. The only way Cap and Trade will affect small business is by an increase in utility rates. Rick: Cap and Trade is not just record keeping, it’s buying potentially expensive allowances, if a business, such as my employer, has emissions that exceed specific criteria; in this case, it’s over 25,000 MT CO2e/year. Understand the issues, don’t just pass along rhetoric.

  5. @john,

    I understand that, but here is the thing. If your employeer is over the limit, clean up your act. If you cant clean up your act, then perhaps your prices will rise (which is funny since most of these large companies over the limits make record profits.) But if you exceed the limits and you have to pay, then you should consider that the records you keep and the allowances you purchase are “records” ultimately. If you are allowed waste watre limits today, and you exceed it you pay. Same thing when it comes to your cell phone minutes, or your other areas of a business. It comes down to better record keeping and accountability. John, I see your point, but ultimately AB32 isnt about CAP and TRADE, which will not be happening, its about the accountability, monitoring and penalties associated the exceeding limits.

    And thats how it should be. If you can be at the level we need, then clean it up. Yes, short term this may have impact, but its the right thing to do long term and the rest of the world will get on board.

    Doing the right thing cant be wrong.

  6. Thank you California voters! I’m very tired of all this talk about climate change being a myth and the like. We must act soon and with great authority in lowering the Earth’s CO2 and other more potent GHG. We have created a ticking time bomb. When it goes off (point of no return) we are doomed.

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