Most people know that California is the largest state by population (37 million and rising) in the United States. It has often been said that what happens in California will remake the nation. It has been boasted that "The Golden State" by itself has one of the ten largest economies in the world.
That's why any major proposition put forward to direct vote of the population can have a major effect on America and the world. The most recent of these is Proposition 23, an effort sponsored by a Texas oil money and supported by the far-right "Tea Party" movement could, if passed, pose a major setback to a cleaner global environment.
A little history: in 2006, California's GOP Governor Arnold Swarznegger, signed AB 32, a bill that would roll back total emissions from the state to 1990 levels by promoting more renewable and "green" technology, by instituting a "cap and trade" energy policy and promote non-carbon solar, biofuel and wind technologies to the point that these alternative fuels wills represent 33 percent of all energy use by 2020.
What Proposition 23 would do is to suspend this bill's provisions for cleaner air and reducing climactic impact by petroleum and coal based technology. It would suspend such laws until the total unemployment rate in the state falls to 5.5 percent (it currently stands at 12 percent). Almost 74 percent of the funding for this proposition comes from out-of-state oil companies Tesoro and Valero, and Flint Hills Resources, a petrochemical company owned by Charles and David Koch, Kansas billionaires who have pumped millions in big money into dozens of political causes this year
Here's Governor Swarznegger's take on the Brothers Koch.
They’re not interested in our environment; they are only interested in greed and filling their pockets with more money.
Although the "No" forces have a narrow lead, some polls show this Proposition might still pass, a serious setback to putting less junk in the atmosphere for kids and elderly people to breathe and making global climate change worse.
The fact is California's decision here does have an impact on the global future. And it also sends a message that at least 15 percent of America's population serious about changing the future of our children for the better.
This is not strictly a "liberal" movement--many Republican leaders including the GOP candidate for governor, Meg Whitman, oppose 23. But the traditional American fear of "government intervention" serves the interests of the oil and gas companies who want to hold back this law from taking full effect.
One can only hope Californians will not let a down economy blind them to a better future.
Here are some more details on this important measure and the bad effects that will occur if it does pass.
Here's more on the bill from the Earthjustice website.
Financed by Texas oilmen, Proposition 23 would suspend A.B. 32, which has put in place the nation's strongest standards governing greenhouse gas emissions. If it passes, this deadly proposition could have impacts that cascade across the state of California, nation and even into the international community. Here's a quick look at what Prop 23 could do if it passes:
• Kill Clean Energy Jobs: More than 500,000 Californians now work in clean tech jobs in the state, and since 2005, California green jobs have grown 10 times faster than other sectors of the state's economy.
• Pollute Our Air, Endanger Our Health: Prop. 23 would let oil companies and other polluters off the hook by suspending requirements to clean up their acts, drastically increasing air pollution and public health risks.
• Keep Us Addicted to Costly Oil: At the exact moment when California's wind, solar and other renewable energy technologies are starting to reduce our energy costs, Prop. 23 would protect polluters and send a message that the United States cannot keep up with Japan, Europe and China, who are taking the lead in renewable energy production.
• Undermine Environmental Laws: Not only would Prop. 23 indefinitely repeal A.B. 32, it would also threaten dozens of other regulations in California—laws that Earthjustice uses every day to clean up pollution in the state.