Assembly Bill 32

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Prop 23 Money Trail

It’s not just big oil with big money in the game.

Prop 23 has backing from oil & gas interests in Texas, Kansas, Ohio, and Colorado, among other places.

True, most of the money backing Proposition 23 on California’s November ballot has come from two big oil refiners, both headquartered in San Antonio, Texas. But the opposition has some high rollers in the game, as well. High-profile venture capitalists and tech investors have lined up against the measure with open wallets. In fact, a tally released this week by the California Fair Political Practices Commission reveals that opponents of Prop 23 are outspending proponents by almost a two-to-one margin. According to the Commission, ten different committees have marshaled more than $13 million to defeat the measure, “mainly from individuals.” Continue reading

Candidates Question Climate Science

Third-party candidates for governor call the science of global warming “junk science” and “a scam at worst.”

Photo: Craig Miller

While Meg Whitman and Jerry Brown debate the pros and cons of the state’s global warming law (AB 32) and the ballot initiative that would suspend it (Proposition 23), two of the four “alternative” candidates interviewed this morning on KQED’s Forum program, attacked the science behind California’s climate change policy.

“I’ve become convinced that the whole thing is an exaggeration at best, and a scam at worst,” said Dale Odgen, the Libertarian Party candidate.  “The science has been fudged in order to get grants for people.  People like Al Gore have used it to become even more wealthy at the expense of the rest of us.” Continue reading

Schwarzenegger Blasts Oil Companies

(Archival Photo: Angela George)

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger used his appearance at the Commonwealth Club in Santa Clara today to “put a spotlight” on what he called the “self-serving greed” of oil companies Valero, Tesoro, and Koch Industries. These companies, two of which he described as among the state’s top polluters, are bankrolling Proposition 23 for their own gain, while trying to hide behind a false claim that the initiative would be good for the state’s economy, said the Governor. Prop 23 would suspend California’s Global Warming Solutions Act, AB 32, which authorizes incentives and regulations for reducing the state’s greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. Schwarzenegger’s speech was timed to the fourth anniversary of the law.

Proponents of the ballot measure claim that allowing AB 32 to be fully implemented would drive businesses from the state and could potentially cost the state more than a million jobs, a figure which has been challenged in several studies. Continue reading

Californians Split on Prop. 23

ConocoPhillips refinery in Rodeo, CA (Photo: Craig Miller)

A new poll finds that while two-thirds of Californians think global warming is an important issue, they are divided right down the middle when it comes to Proposition 23, the LA Times reports.  Prop. 23 is the ballot initiative that would suspend AB 32, California’s Global Warming Solutions Act, until the employment situation improves.  The poll, which was conducted for the Los Angeles Times and the University of Southern California, found 40% of those surveyed  in favor of Prop. 23 and 38% opposed.  Twenty-two percent were undecided.

More Proposition 23 coverage from Climate Watch

Whitman, Utilities Commission Oppose Prop 23

The backers of California’s Proposition 23 can add two significant new names to its list of opponents: Republican Gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman and the state’s Public Utilities Commission.

Neither should come as a huge surprise. Whitman hinted at a “no” vote weeks ago, when two conservative L.A. radio hosts backed her into a corner. Forced into at least a vague commitment one way or the other, Whitman said she would “in all likelihood” vote “no.” This week it became official when Whitman released positions on all measures that will appear on the statewide ballot. In a statement, Whitman said:

“While Proposition 23 does address the job killing aspects of AB 32, it does not offer a sensible balance between our vital need for good jobs and the desire of all Californians to protect our precious environment. It is too simple of a solution for a complex problem.”

That means there’s at least one thing on which Whitman and her Democratic rival, Jerry Brown, agree. Both oppose 23, though Brown is a staunch supporter of AB 32. Whitman still maintains that if elected, she would use the provisions of AB 32 itself to suspend regulations under the law, until the economy recovers from the current downturn. Continue reading

Major California Utilities Rejecting Prop 23

(Photo: Craig Miller)

While some oil & gas companies are behind it, none of California’s three major electric utilities appear to support Proposition 23, the ballot measure to upend the state’s comprehensive climate law, known as AB 32.

The growing list is a Who’s Who of the state’s electrical grid:

This week, Sempra Energy made it’s declaration against the measure, completing a sweep of the big-three utilities. Sempra is the parent company of San Diego Gas & Electric, Southern California Gas Co., Sempra Generation, Sempra Pipelines & Storage and Sempra LNG. A Sempra spokeswoman told Climate Watch that the energy giant is against 23 because it’s for AB 32.  “AB 32 plays a critical role in helping California develop a low-carbon economy,” she said, and added that Sempra is “heavily invested” in clean technologies, like “smart meters” and the infrastructure designed to support mass adoption of electric vehicles in the next few years. Continue reading

California Oil Refiners Split on Prop 23

A Shell oil refinery in the aptly named town of Oildale (near Bakersfield) back in 2004. (Photo: David McNew/Getty Images)

The Los Angeles Times today runs down the list of California’s major oil refiners, which are also California’s biggest individual carbon emitters, and finds Tesoro, Valero, and Koch Industries  have not brought along their industry brethren in the fight to stop AB 32 with Proposition 23.

Prop 23 would suspend the 2006 law until the state’s unemployment rate drops to 5.5% or below and stays there for a year, something that’s happened three times in the last four decades, depending on how you count. Continue reading

Prop 23: The Statistical Maze

How long would California’s climate law be frozen under the ballot measure to suspend AB 32? It depends on how you read the state’s labor statistics.

There were moments during Monday’s Forum program on KQED when I thought I’d stepped through the Looking Glass.

The two principal guests were, by design, on opposite sides of the campaign for Proposition 23, the upcoming ballot measure to suspend California’s 2006 greenhouse gas law. So I didn’t expect the “Yes” campaign’s Anita Mangels and Solaria VP David Hochschild to agree on much.  But I never expected a dust-up over California’s historical unemployment rate. I mean, that’s a pretty easy one to settle — a matter of public record, right? Nevertheless, the two duked it out over just that. Continue reading

Rumblings of Another Attack on AB 32

Texas - more than a little interested in California's Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Here’s proof positive conferences put on by the Minnesota Rural Electric Association are can’t-miss events. Mark Schapiro of California Watch attended last month, and got a scoop (and I’m not talking about a scoop of Minnesota’s famed butter.)

Schapiro learned the attorneys general of Alabama, Nebraska, Texas and North Dakota are preparing to sue California if the golden state’s landmark law limiting greenhouse gas emissions survives a challenge at the ballot box this November from Proposition 23.

The grounds? AB 32 interferes with interstate commerce, according to Wayne Stenehjem, attorney general of North Dakota (pop. 642,200), giving new meaning to old phrase “the long arm of the law.”

“We are going to test the limits of how much you can constrain interstate commerce in the name of climate change,” Stenehjem told Schapiro.
Continue reading

Republican Candidates Ambivalent About Prop 23

Republican candidate for U.S. Senate Carly Fiorina looks on during a debate with U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer on September 1. (Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

The e-mail from the Fiorina campaign Friday didn’t exactly sound like a ringing endorsement:

“Proposition 23 is a Band-Aid fix and an imperfect solution to addressing our nation’s climate and energy challenges. The real solution to these challenges lies not with a single state taking action on its own, but rather with global action. That’s why we need a comprehensive, national energy solution that funds energy R&D and takes advantage of every source of domestic energy we have – including nuclear, wind and solar – in an environmentally responsible way. That said, AB 32 is undoubtedly a job killer, and it should be suspended.”

Political reporters are reading that as a “Yes” on Proposition 23, the state ballot measure intended to freeze the state’s greenhouse gas regulations under AB 32.  But you could be forgiven for thinking she’s not really hot for the prop. Coming out against the state’s 2006 climate law isn’t necessarily an endorsement of Prop 23, since the former can be suspended — at least temporarily — without a referendum. Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman has vowed to suspend AB 32 by executive order, if she’s elected governor. Whitman has said she is leaning toward voting against Proposition 23 but has not taken an official position (Democratic candidates in both the senate and gubernatorial races oppose the measure). Continue reading