An initiative funded in large part by two Texas-based oil companies to roll back California’s landmark greenhouse gas emissions law has qualified to appear on November’s ballot, Secretary of State Debra Bowen has just announced.
AB 32, the state’s global warming law, requires that California’s greenhouse-gas emission levels be cut to 1990 levels by 2020, a cut of about 15 percent from current levels; to that end, state authorities are working on formulating a “cap and trade” system in which California businesses would be able to choose between installing new equipment to clean up their emissions or buying emissions credits from those who do.
This “California Jobs Initiative” would suspend AB 32 until California’s unemployment rate – now at 12.6 percent – drops to 5.5 percent or below for four consecutive quarters; the measure’s proponents claim leaving the law in place will cost the state jobs it can’t currently afford to lose, while opponents claim leaving the law in place will actually create jobs in the burgeoning green technology sector.
San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, the Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor, is joining Sierra Club Chairman Carl Pope, San Francisco Baykeeper Executive Director Deb Self, Natural Resources Defense Council Senior Scientist Gina Solomon and Environmental Defense Fund West Coast Political Director Wade Crowfoot for a news conference tomorrow afternoon on San Francisco’s Pier 7 to decry the measure.
They’re holding their event by the Bay to remind voters of the Cosco Busan oil tanker accident of 2007, in which 53,000 gallons of bunker fuel spilled; the measure’s opponents have made much of the fact that oil companies have continued to bankroll this measure even as the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster continues to unfold.