New Regulations Depend on Voters Opposing Prop 23 –
The California Air Resources Board released guidelines that would establish a new cap and trade market that would allow polluting facilities to trade pollution credits to offset global warming. For instance, tree planting could cover up to eight percent of their emissions limits.
“Everything is designed to reward efficiency and clean energy,” said Stanley Young, a spokesman for the California Air Resources Board (ARB). “This sends a signal that clean energy pays off, and that’s where we want to be.”
This begins a public comment period, culminating in a December 16 public hearing in Sacramento, California, at which the Board will consider adopting the proposed program. During the public comment period, ARB staff will continue to meet with stakeholders to refine the regulation and develop proposed changes to present at the Board hearing.
“This program is a crucial element of reducing our greenhouse gas emissions. It will help drive innovation, create more green jobs and clean up our air and environment” said ARB Chairman Mary D. Nichols. “We have worked closely with all interested parties and stakeholders to make sure that the program provides flexibility to reach our emissions reduction goals while taking into consideration the current economic climate and the need to fully protect California’s economy.”
A key part of ARB’s AB 32 Scoping Plan, the cap-and-trade program, provides an overall limit on the emissions from sources responsible for 85 percent of California’s greenhouse gas emissions.
This program allows covered entities the greatest flexibility for compliance, stimulates clean energy technologies, increases energy security and independence, protects public health and will drive clean, green jobs in California.
It is designed to work in collaboration with other complementary policies that expand energy efficiency programs, reduce vehicle emissions and encourage innovation.
However, this bill and these regulations are now in the hands of California’s voters who will go to the polls today to decide, among other things, whether or not they should approve Proposition 23.
Supporters of that bill, sponsored largely by out-of-state monied interests in the energy field, argue that the law would cost state jobs while at the same time having little impact on the worldwide emissions of greenhouse gases.
However, opponents of Proposition 23 have argued that the green energy industry is a potential job producer, as it will create a market for jobs that boost the state’s renewable energy and green technology industries.
Moreover, the law will establish guidelines for the rest of the nation and eventually the rest of the world to follow.
Polling shows that Proposition 23 is trailing badly. The latest round of LA Times/ USC Polls show that voters, by a 48% to 32% margin, are voting against the proposition.
The push for the proposition is supported by out-of-state oil refinining companies such as Valero, which would see declining profits as the result of new state regulations.
The measure would suspend the implementation of such regulation until unemployment drops to 5.5% or less for a full year. This is seen as a smokescreen to killing the measure (AB 32) altogether. State analysts say that could take many years, as the unemployment rate has only stayed that low for a sustained period three times since 1970.
Jack Pitney, a professor at the conservative Claremont McKenna College, argued that voter disapproval has less to do with the merits of global warming but rather is a reaction against the efforts of out of state oil companies trying to pull the wool over the eyes of Californians. “The opponents have run a very smart campaign with lots of advertising,” he told the LA Times.
—David M. Greenwald reporting