AB 32 is heralded as reducing California greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 25 percent. It is also slated to cause businesses to leave the state and set up shop elsewhere. Poizner, Whitman and Brown must weigh in on the CARB-backed measure.
Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Big Foe in 2006
Although beginning to burst at the seams, the housing bubble still went on strong in 2006’s California. Not surprisingly, the goal to reduce the state’s greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent appeared noble and attainable; add to that fact the clause that the new law would not really begin taking effect until 2011 and it makes sense that upon signing AB 32, Gov. Schwarzenegger was hailed a visionary in the fight against global warming.
A lot has happened since 2006. Global warming claims came under harsh scrutiny when researchers’ emails led to pointed questions about the accurate evaluation of study results. The California housing bubble burst and was replaced with a foreclosure crisis. Fiscal mismanagement has led the state’s budget into a strong decline.
Adding insult to injury, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) itself came under media scrutiny when it was discovered – as outlined by the Scientific Integrity Institute — that CARB’s lead scientist faked his educational credentials for the sake of getting a job. His diploma was purchased for $1,000 from a diploma mill.
Is it possible that the science, which led to AB 32, was also little more than junk science?
California 2010: Shifting Priorities
In December of 2006, the California unemployment rate was 4.9 percent. As outlined by the Wall Street Journal, in December of 2009, this rate had shot up to 9.3 percent. AB 32 and its efforts to cut greenhouse gas emission in California is likely to increase the cost of energy and – in turn – persuade businesses in the state to look for cheaper venues. Citing the office of the legislative analyst, the Los Angeles Times refers to this occurrence as ‘economic leakage‘ to the tune of 1.1 million jobs lost.
CARB calls this suggestion a ‘myth‘ and instead contends that the green business sector is actually generating new jobs. CARB believes that over the next 10 years this could account for about 500,000 new jobs in California. The mathematical discrepancy of jobs lost and gained could not be any more apparent.
Steve Poizner, Meg Whitman, Jerry Brown and the Issue of AB 32
While Arnold Schwarzenegger signed AB 32 and briefly basked in the sunshine of green appreciation, the next governor must actually see to the implementation of the greenhouse gas emissions bill. Skyrocketing unemployment, the CARB scandal and a budget crisis are making this a singularly unappealing bit of legislation. The promise of 500,000 new jobs over the course of 20 years does not sit well with workers who are threatened with the loss of about one million jobs.
Gubernatorial hopeful Steve Poizner is the first politician to officially jump ship and speak out in favor of an AB 32 reversal. The L.A. Times is quick to point out that Poizner is changing positions as quickly as political expediency requires. In 2006, he was quite vociferously in favor, but now that he must out-conservative Meg Whitman, this position is likely to achieve its goal.
There is little doubt that Jerry Brown will not only uphold AB 32 but also vigorously support the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, no matter the cost to the state.