California has emerged as a key battleground state in EDF’s national effort to move America toward a clean energy future. When Californians go to the polls in November, they’ll be deciding on the state’s landmark climate and energy policy—an outcome that will have national and international ramifications.
Outlets from Bloomberg to the Wall Street Journal are cover the brewing battle that will shape what happens next on the national climate policy front:
- Bloomberg just ran a story quoting a Deutsche Bank AG executive (who oversees billions of dollars in climate related investments) saying, “It would be a big setback for clean energy in the U.S. if California’s climate-change law is overturned.” He said that if the most populous state backs away, it would give other states and the federal government “a free pass to do nothing” on curbing greenhouse gases.
- Grist quoted a CEO saying, "If AB 32 is sustained by the voters of California, you will have the largest plebiscite in the history of the climate change debate cast by voters in the world's seventh largest economy. If AB 32 survives and Jerry Brown gets elected governor, I think you'll have cap-and-trade nationally by 2013.
Proposition 23 is at the epicenter of the debate. It is a great example of dirty energy efforts to kill our largest domestic clean energy economy. Bankrolled by Texas-based oil companies Tesoro and Valero, two of California's biggest polluters, Prop 23 would kill the climate policy known as AB 32 until state unemployment drops and stays below 5.5% for a full year. Since that rate has occurred just three times in the past 40 years, Prop 23 would effectively delay AB 32 far into the foreseeable future.
California’s climate law passed in 2006 with bi-partisan support. It was the nation’s first statewide limit on greenhouse gas pollution. It spurred national efforts, serves as a model for federal legislation and features a roadmap for reducing pollution that calls for renewable energy and “smart grid” investments, stronger energy efficiency standards and transit-oriented housing development.
Setting a cap on emissions has helped California catalyze clean tech investments, start a green industrial revolution and create jobs. Since ‘06, California has captured 60% of U.S. clean tech investment. Its economy is creating green jobs—now totalling 500,000 and considered the cornerstone of the state's recovery—10 times faster than any other sector.
It will be 2012 when AB 32 policies are scheduled to take effect. That is unless the oil companies have their way. Their goal is clear: roll back California’s progress transitioning to cleaner, renewable forms of energy and drive a stake in the heart of states’ leadership on climate policy.
The stakes couldn’t be higher.
If the oil industry prevails in California, it will have a lasting chilling effect against passing a national clean energy and climate policy. The U.S. will fall further behind in the $8 trillion clean energy race. It will forego the largest source of job growth at a time when Americans needs jobs the most.
If, on the other hand, this attack on clean energy policy fails, we will gain tremendous momentum for the climate movement. We will send a loud and clear signal of support that America's largest state is forging ahead and ready to compete in the clean energy future.
The importance of defeating Prop 23 can’t be understated. That’s why EDF is part of a broad coalition of business, environmental and labor leaders that are working to win this battle. If we succeed, we will show the rest of the country and the world just what public support for climate leadership looks like.