Earlier this week, the San Jose Mercury News ran an editorial with the headline “Repealing AB 32 Would Be a Disaster for California.”
AB 32 is California’s groundbreaking global warming and clean energy law, and repealing the law is exactly what a cadre of polluters and opportunistic politicians are trying to do. And what a disaster it would be.
California has long been the cradle of innovation, a place where the best ideas take shape and where cutting-edge solutions to our most vexing problems are unleashed. Our state is also where people go to build a better future for themselves and their children, to find a world-class quality of life and a healthy environment where they can prosper.
That’s why AB 32 is a quintessentially “California” idea, a ‘triple win’ policy that is putting California at the forefront of the largest economic opportunity of the 21st century estimated to be valued at $2.3 trillion globally. Here's how:
- The first win is economic: thousands of new jobs will be created by clean energy companies and millions of dollars will be saved by using less energy and more efficient technologies.
- The second win is on national security: California’s push for cleaner, homegrown fuels will help catalyze our domestic energy market and reduce dependence on Middle Eastern oil.
- The third win is environmental: a cleaner, healthier environment and a transition to sustainable sources of energy, such as sun and wind, that don’t pollute or run out.
Despite this ‘triple win,’ AB 32 is under attack by, not surprisingly, the oil industry.
Case in point: two oil companies, Valero Energy Corp. and Tesoro Corp. are funding a California ballot initiative sponsored by Assemblyman Dan Logue (R-Marysville) to delay AB 32 until the state's unemployment rate–currently at 12%–is below 5.5% for four consecutive quarters. This has happened just three times in the last 30 years. They are using discredited economic reports to make their case to the public.
These out-of-state special interests want to get off Scott-free and continue to pollute our environment–for which we are all paying a price—rather than joining California's burgeoning clean energy economy that will grow jobs and protect our health.
So, it's special interests against public interests. A majority of Americans believe that climate change is happening and want government to fight it. A recent poll by Frank Luntz found that American people are eager for Congress to act on climate legislation that would promote energy independence and a healthier environment. In the Golden State, 66% of Californians support AB 32.
And those who favor a clean energy economy are a geographically and demographically diverse group of business leaders, scientists, health experts, economists, community and religious leaders and environmental groups.
California's climate policies over the last 35 years have saved consumers billions of dollars and put thousands of people to work. The state has also been able to attract the majority of venture capital investments made in the U.S., and we are home to five of the top clean tech cities in the country with more green jobs than any other state, by far.
Consider that Silicon Valley, which made its first great fortune powering the computer industry and the Internet age, has a leading role in the global competition to develop renewable energy and other clean, green technologies. Clean tech is poised to be the valley's third great wave of innovation — not just the next big thing, but perhaps the biggest thing ever. Confronting the peril of greenhouse gases and climate change happens to be a "multi-trillion-dollar business opportunity," according to the San Jose Mercury News. And, John Doerr, "one of Silicon Valley’s best-known venture capitalists" says that clean tech is the "biggest economic opportunity of the future.”
But the special interests fighting AB 32 would rather we leave these immense economic and health benefits on the table and watch while countries such as China and the E.U. beat us at our own game of innovation and increase their lead in the race for the new economy.
California's clean energy sectors are the fastest-growing part of our economy. There's a lot at stake. And we have a huge opportunity to dramatically grow our economy today and well into the future.
A group of more than 900 mainstream small businesses, business associations and business leaders have joined the fledgling California Business Alliance for a Green Economy and are organized around a fundamental belief in its benefits:
"California’s aggressive clean energy policies have proven to be economic drivers for more than three decades. Efficiency standards passed in the seventies saved consumers over $56 billion, and generated 1.5 million jobs with over $45 billion in payroll. The passage of AB 32 has generated green job growth that has been increasing even as the rest of the economy has contracted. Moving forward with AB 32 will help pave the way to California’s economic recovery."
AB 32 is a cornerstone of California's economic future. The opportunities for creating jobs, healthier communities and new industries are tremendous. A broad coalition of Californians is taking up the fight to make sure California’s new economic engine stays on track.