Wednesday, October 13, 2010

California: Dreams of Clean Energy Deferred?



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.

14 comments:

  1. Who in California is sponsoring this proposal? Doesn't it have to be put forward by a Californian? And who are the oilmen trying to get it there? The article doesn't name names.
    And, how does the proposition tie into unemployment?
    I think I'm confused.

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  2. The main supporters, Jacquie, are the energy companies. And, no, like Oregon, a mesure before the voters doesn't have to be put forward by a Californian--all it takes is enough signatures gathered (and those signature-gatherers can be paid by anyone.)

    I will get more names on this. Thanks for pointing this out.

    In order for AB32 to go into effect, the unemployment level must be under 5.5 for at least a year.

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  3. About 74 percent of the "Yes" campaign contributions for Proposition 23 have come from oil companies Tesoro and Valero, and Flint Hills Resources, the petrochemical company owned by Kansas billionaires Charles and David Koch, according to campaign records.

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  4. Now I'm confused!
    "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)."

    I don't understand that concept at all!
    What I do understand is that if we pursued clean energy sources, it would create thousands of jobs that would reduce the current 12%, & we need to do this NOW.

    One more thing: Is that quote from Scharnold true, or is it a joke? "They’re not interested in our environment; they are only interested in greed and filling their pockets with more money."

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  5. No, it doesn't make sense Lucija--but setting the bar for restoring AB32 to a very good unemployment rate at very bad times would buy out-of-state oil and gas companies brokers years of extra profits.

    Of course the Koch brothers and their ilk don't care about jobs---they want California's energy market sewn up for them--just like those bastards Jeff Skilling and Ken Lay did to California electric utility customers in the 1990s when they ran Enron and took advantage of California's deregulated energy market.


    As far as I know the Scharnold quote is for real. He is on record as opposing Proposition 23.

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  6. Schwarznegger featured in a Sept.29 broadcast on MSNBC's "Countdown" discussing Prop. 23.

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  7. Good grief, I finally got it!

    "As far as I know the Scharnold quote is for real. He is on record as opposing Proposition 23."
    That's a surprise to me. I'll bet he's motivated by something that's in his self interest. Hm.

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  8. Kind of surprises me as well.:-)

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  9. This indeed is a global issue Doug, obviously Proposition 23 is a self perpetuating policy that means the loss of jobs in environmentally sustainable industries ensures that the unemployment rate will always remain above the ridiculous and arbitrary figure of 5.5 per cent.... a figure obviously plucked out the air because Tea Party members are baffled by decimals (I've heard that they only understand vulgar fractions when spouted by vulgar politicians).......this is a clear attempt by the oil mafia to despoil California for obscene profit. I never thought I'd agree with Mr Schwarznegger, but I can't fault him here......I hope the people of California resist this attack by the Texas oil gangsters and the hypnotised village idiots of the Tea Party..."Black Oil Hearts".....Yeah, I like it........Fight back California the world is standing with you! Important stuff Doug, thanks for posting it!

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  10. Thanks.

    At least village idiots know they are idiots, AA. It's a bad sign when people in politics like the Tea Party crowd take pride in their knee-jerk provincialism and ignorance, substituting it as some kind of virtue against scientific evidence and experience in fining solutions in government whilst not pandering to the lowest forms of demagoguery and spiteful attacks.

    And, wow, even Schwarznegger gets it!

    Yes, the nation and the world is going to be watching this one. I hope we will have good news out of California on the night of November 2nd.

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  11. Don't worry the black ops division of the Church's Ladies Guild will ensure the correct result on the day...until then 'Mum's the word' eh Doug?

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  12. You've got connections with the fabled CLG?! I 've heard those ladies make those Black Watch lads in the Army look like teaboys!

    I'll sleep better tonight knowing this AA. Do we get to synchronize watches around the last of the month then, just like in the old Richard Todd movies!

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