Whitman's global warming positions leave her stand unclear

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Meg Whitman's evolving and sometimes irrelevant statements on global warming leave it unclear how she would deal with the issue.

Gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman is playing both sides of the fence on the issue of global warming, belatedly opposing Prop. 23 – the measure that would suspend AB 32, California's long-term plan for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and promoting clean technology – but promising to delay implementation of AB 32 for a year anyway.

Yet the California Air Resources Board, the department tasked with drafting the regulations for the bill, isn’t even scheduled to finish drafting all the rules for the measure until Jan 1, 2011, and those rules wouldn't go into effect for another year anyway. So it appears that Whitman's stand is simply pandering to those who don't see global warming as a pressing problem, in the process leaving uncertainty about how she would handle the issue if elected.

Still, her stance worries a swath of businesses that were hoping to cash in on a renewable-friendly economy. “There are already 500,000 Clifornian’s working in the clean energy sector and around 160,000 of them are in construction and manufacturing,” Donnie Fowler, senior advisor at the Clean Economy Network, told us.

Fowler is part of a campaign to promote the growth of the renewable economy. However, their pressing task is raising awareness of the potentially damaging effects if Prop 23 is passed. The measure would suspend the regulations within AB32 indefinitely and require, potentially, a citizen’s initiative to overturn it. The other option would be to wait until the unemployment rate drops below 5.5 percent for four consecutive quarters – a rare occurrence – at which point the suspension would automatically be lifted.

The LA Times released a poll last week that has Prop 23 winning by a slight margin, with 40 percent in favor of the initiative and 38 percent opposed. The proposition's current success is largely a result of large donations from Texas based oil companies Tesoro Corp and Valero Energy Corp. and multibillionaire libertarian brothers David and Charles Koch.

Much of the opposition to AB32, however, has arisen from the anti-tax fervor sweeping the country – which Whitman has played on. Before she started making her rhetorical sojourn to the middle, coming out against Prop. 23 just last month, she told the San Jose Mercury that I probably would today, I need to think about that,” when asked whether she would veto AB32. Well, she thought about it and has since maintained that she would only suspend the bill long enough to assess what impact it would have on California jobs. Yet, the phrase job killer remains on her website.

Derek Walker, Director of the California Climate Initiative, thinks she is probably smart enough to understand what kind of impact suspending AB32 would have on renewable energy businesses currently operating in California.

But, if she is elected, will she have the political will to renege on her promised moratorium? And what would her position be if Prop 23 is passed?  Would renewable energy companies be left high and dry? Would she come to their aid?

“It would be very uncertain in the absence of AB32. However, the overwhelming support would almost require a plan to keep California’s clean energy economy growing,” Walker said.

Comments

The California Jobs Initiative (CJI) is an oil corporation farce and fraud. There is no connection, whatsoever, between greenhouse gas emission reduction and the loss of jobs. This notion is an insult to the intelligence of the people of California. In fact, there is job growth in the clean, renewable energy industry. Chevron employs 65,000 worldwide and CJI is not going to change this. The only jobs created by the oil industry are clean-up jobs after oil spills and deep water, blow-outs and pump-handler jobs. CJI will make fantastic profits for the oil industry, increase air pollution, especially in communities around their refineries and there will not be lower gas prices. Koch Industries, Valero and Tesoro are super Enrons. Since when did the oil companies start to show any concern for the unemployed and their families and for small businesses?

Posted by Guest on Oct. 06, 2010 @ 10:58 pm

Points to ponder on AB 32:

° Sacramento State University reports estimated cost of $3734 per year per family due strictly to this AB 32.

° CARB has admitted that California alone cannot have an inpact on reducing global warming and CO2 emissions.

° US EPA acknowledges that US action alone will not impact the world CO2 levels;

° US EPA (11 July 2010) said that bills in Congress will not reduce the total use of gas and oil of 20 million gallons per day for decades.

° LAO (CA Legislative Analyst Office) stated: CA economy at large will be adversely affected by implementation of climate-related policies that are not in place elsewhere. (Letter to Dan Logue, 13 May 2010)

° Even CARB’s own economic experts have recognized the fact that jobs will be lost because of AB 32. In fact, they recommend establishing a “Worker Transition Program” to provide assistance to people who lose their jobs because of AB 32 regulations.

° AB 32 does nothing for local pollution, nor does Proposition 23 do anything to increase local pollution.

° 5.5% unemployment for 4 consecutive quarters has occurred 7 times since 2005, 14 times since 1999, and 22 times since 1987.

When the loudest objections to any candidacy or initiative are focused on vilifying its financial backers, this often indicates that its opponents' arguments on its merits are weak.

Vote yes on Prop 23 and suspend AB32.

Posted by Wayne on Oct. 08, 2010 @ 9:10 am