Jobs First: California Climate Law Faces Opposition

  • Date: 01/01/10

The New York Times: Four years after California’s Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed off on the nation’s furthest-reaching global-warming law, a campaign is heating up to keep it from taking effect. In the latest salvo, Dan Logue, a Republican assemblyman, has announced that he will start collecting signatures next month in support of a November 2010 ballot initiative that would suspend the law until California’s unemployment rate drops below 5.5 percent.

Currently, the state’s unemployment rate is above 12 percent.

At issue are two opposing views on how best to stimulate job growth in the state. Supporters of the law, the Global Warming Solutions Act, say it would stimulate California’s economy by creating jobs in new renewable power technologies.

Opponents, including Mr. Logue and the gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman, the former chief executive of eBay, argue that tighter environmental restrictions would cause a net loss in jobs by damaging industries already suffering from the recession.

“Here we are, running around holding hands, saying ‘We are the world,’ while we’re jumping off the cliff,” Mr. Logue told Green Inc. in a telephone interview on Wednesday.

The 2006 law aims to return greenhouse gas emissions in California to 1990 levels by 2020, with statewide reductions starting in 2012.

The bulk of the needed reductions would come from a 33 percent renewable energy standard for power companies, as well as several measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from fuels for cars and trucks.

In an interview, Ken Alex, deputy state attorney general, characterized growing opposition to the law as “very disappointing, but not surprising – it’s the carbon-based fuels lobby’s attempt to assert the dead hand of the 20th century to halt the move into the 21st century.”

Mr. Logue said no fossil fuel interests or utilities were contributing to his campaign, but declined to name the businesses among his supporters, saying he didn’t want to expose them to pressure prematurely.

His Web site says he is working with the People’s Advocate, a group founded by the late conservative activist Paul Gann.

“Whether global warming is in fact caused by humans or by natural processes,” Mr. Logue’s Web site states, California’s global warming law is “ineffective and counterproductive.”

Copyright 2009, NYT

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