I don’t usually write about politics in this blog, but there’s a proposition on California’s November ballot that would be so damaging to green, sustainable, and clean tech businesses, I just have to speak out: if you’re a California voter, please vote no on Prop. 23, aka the Dirty Energy Proposition.
If passed, Prop. 23 would essentially repeal AB 32, California’s landmark Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006. (Technically, it would suspend implementation of AB 32 until unemployment reached 5.5 percent for four consecutive quarters—but that has occurred only three times in the last 40 years, and it’s highly unlikely to occur in the next several years.) Prop. 23 is funded largely by Texas oil companies that don’t want to clean up their act in the state or face competition from clean energy sources. The companies and others have engaged in a long-term, multipronged effort to delay, repeal, or disable AB 32 (we covered this back in March, before the proposition qualified for the ballot, in the newsletter we produce for the California Natural Gas Vehicle Coalition).
Prop. 23, their latest effort, is a cynical and dishonest effort portray AB 32 as a job killer. UC Berkeley researchers Carol Zabin and Lisa Hoyos do a good job of explaining why that isn’t so in their op-ed in today’s San Francisco Chronicle, “Setting the record straight on AB32 and jobs.”
The real job killer is Prop. 23—if it passes it will stall California’s clean energy and clean tech sector, which is growing 10 times faster than the state’s economy as whole and enabling California to attract 67 percent of clean energy venture capital invested in the United States. (Get even more facts on the Stop the Dirty Energy Proposition website.) Prop. 23 will also lead to increased air pollution, threatening public health.
But the effects of Prop. 23 would extend beyond California and its sustainable businesses, bad as its results for our state would be. The passage of AB 32 spurred other states to adopt climate regulations and it jump-started the Western Climate Initiative. It also put pressure on the federal government to at least consider climate legislation, an uphill battle that almost certainly will be lost if California backs off its commitment. And if the United States continues to do nothing, other major greenhouse gas emitters will follow suit, leaving us in an ever-deepening climate crisis.
Many of us feel helpless in face of climate change and environmental disasters. Here’s something positive and incredibly easy you can do: vote NO on Prop. 23. And tell your friends.