9 Sep 2010

What passage of California Proposition 23 could mean

Written by Jim Pierobon

Perhaps THE outcome with the most impact on Election Day Nov. 2 for renewable energy advocates and critics alike will be whether California voters elect to pull back on their Global Warming Act of 2006, aka AB 32.  Proposition 23 would suspend the law just as California is about to make measurable progress reducing its greenhouse gas emissions.

Some of the more significant measures that Prop. 23 would suspend include:

• a cap-and-trade program;
• California’s low-carbon fuel standard;
• an executive order requiring state utilities to provide 33% of electricity from renewables by 2020; and
• AB 32’s early implementation programs that improve auto efficiency and limit industrial greenhouse gas emissions.

The practical effect of an affirmative vote would be to kill the law. It could not be revived until California’s current double-digit unemployment rate declines to 5.5% or lower and stays below 5.5% for four consecutive quarters. The last time that happened was in 1980.

The momentum behind the creation of thousands of new renewable energy jobs and the millions of dollars of fresh clean tech capital and local tax receipts generated by AB 32 will stop dead in its tracks. And other states will be watching.  See this report out today by the Center for Law, Energy & the Environment at the University of California-Berkeley School of Law.

Among the report’s conclusion is that passage of Prop 23 will have a “domino effect” on other states.

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