Initiative targets cap-and-trade

March 5, 2010

By KATY GRIMES

California’s version of “cap-and-trade” is under attack – again. But this time, it’s in the form of a ballot initiative, and not proposed legislation that has thus far, been easily killed.

Cap-and-trade, measures created to reduce global warming, were signed into law in 2006 in AB32, California’s Global Warming Initiative. AB32 was supposed to establish a statewide greenhouse gas emissions cap for 2020, based on 1990 emissions.

At the time AB 32 was signed in 2006, unemployment in the state was 4.8 percent. California’s unemployment is currently at 12.3 percent, and even dramatically higher in some small San Joaquin Valley towns, where unemployment can hit 47 percent.

AB32 contains a provision allowing the governor to delay implementation or suspend it in the event of extraordinary circumstances including “significant economic harm.” Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed the bill in 2006, and according to the AB32-suspension initiative’s author Assemblyman Dan Logue, R-Linda, refuses to order suspension “regardless of the double-digit unemployment, another looming deficit, and Draconian emissions standards that will be imposed on California’s vehicles and businesses.”

Logue authored the ballot initiative that will suspend AB32 until California’s unemployment rate is once again, under 5.5 percent. Logue and Ted Costa from The People’s Advocate, submitted a ballot initiative titled California Jobs Initiative, to Attorney General Jerry Brown (and Candidate for Governor) for title & summary. The initiative was given a lengthy new name by Brown, which could be mistaken for the summary: “Suspends air pollution control laws requiring major polluters to report and reduce greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming.”

A 2009 study by economists at California State University, Sacramento, commissioned by the California Small Business Roundtable, found that implementation costs for AB32 “could easily exceed $100 billion” and that the program would raise the cost of living by $7,857 per household each year by 2020.

The non-partisan Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) published its position about the effects of suspending AB32 in a letter to Brown  in January. The LAO concluded that during the time period of the suspension of AB32, since state agencies would be prohibited from adopting new regulations, and “some regulatory activities would likely be suspended,” businesses would avoid the costs associated with AB32 which “might allow some businesses to avoid significant investments they might otherwise be mandated to make in new energy technologies, and could lead to net profits for these firms.” The LAO concluded that this “could result in lower energy prices for consumers” and would have “positive economic impacts on the state.”

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) has already begun creating and adopting regulations, and assigning fees to those regulations to be paid by businesses and individuals that emit greenhouse gasses. Most of the implementation by CARB is scheduled to take place in 2010 according to the CARB Implementation Scoping Plan (here), including motor vehicle air conditioning systems plan, tire pressure program and low carbon fuel standard plan.

Logue is also critical of AB32 because of the recent “Climategate” scandal, which revealed doctored information from the environmental science community. “The science that CARB based its decisions on has been found to be fraudulent, including one of the lead CARB agents with a phony Ph.D,” explained Logue.

A 2009 survey by Pew Charitable Trusts found Global Warming last on a list of America’s top 20 concerns, with only 28 percent of respondents saying that they “believe it is a serious issue.” In comparison, 45 percent of respondents said that “moral decline” was a serious issue while “terrorism” was important to 80 percent of respondents.

Opponents of Logue’s measure signed a letter in January addressed to Assembly member Nancy Skinner, chairwoman of the Assembly Committee on Natural Resources, in opposition to Logue’s earlier anti-AB32 bill AB118, stating, “This bill, gutted and amended just this week, is part of a statewide campaign to stymie California’s economic recovery and deny workers the opportunity to benefit from the emerging new energy economy.  Mr. Logue, along with Rep. Tom McClintock and the association founded by Paul Gann, have filed an initiative nearly identical to AB118 with the California Attorney General’s office with the intention of circulating it for signatures to qualify for the November 2010 general election.”

Explaining their opposition, the environmental and conservation groups wrote, “AB118 would impose economic harm, damage public health and threaten California’s competitive advantage as a first actor in the global race to a clean energy economy,” and that suspension of AB32 “would cause economic distress and create an uncertain business environment for thousands of California employers who have played by the rules by investing in clean technology, setting up training programs, retooling equipment and taking other actions to reduce greenhouse gas pollution and stimulate the economy.”

The letter is signed by “public interest organizations,” including the Natural Resources Defense Council, Environmental Defense Fund, Union of Concerned Scientists, Sierra Club California and The Nature Conservancy.

Logue explained that his initiative is “about jobs, and not rationing, which is just another word for conserving.” Logue is quick to defend suspension of AB32 because “we only want jobs for Californians: green jobs, blue jobs, gray jobs.”  Logue argued that the initiative’s opponents are not conservationists, “They are professional rationists. They want to dictate what resources Californians can use, and how much.”

9 comments

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  1. EastBayLarry
    EastBayLarry 5 March, 2010, 15:21

    California politicians were so eager to be early adopters of the Man-Made Global Warming hysteria that they pushed this crock through quickly.

    Well now that even IPCC big-wigs are admitting that there has been no warming for a decade or more, we’re all stuck with this job killer legislation.

    I’m all for repealing this law by whatever means it can be done.

    Reply this comment
  2. TheTruthSquad
    TheTruthSquad 5 March, 2010, 15:38

    Katy, I’m not surprised that you didn’t mention that the reason this initiative is on the ballot is that two Texas-based oil companies are ponying up the money to get it there. They also happen to be two of the largest polluters in the state and have been heavily fined for their disregard for the air you breathe in northern California.

    I AM surprised that you don’t mention the numerous critiques of the study you cite from economists at Stanford, UC Berkeley and other institutions. Even the author himself backed off of it in the Sacramento Business Journal this week.

    I AM also surprised that you totally misrepresent the Pew Survey. It doesn’t ask if it’s a concern, it asks if it’s a top priority. And given the economy, it’s not surprising that global warming doesn’t top the list. That it makes the list at all is significant.

    I think you were in the audience when Republican pollster Frank Luntz came out strongly in favor of climate change reason — largely because a question of energy security.

    We also have more than 3,000 clean tech businesses in our state and $50 billion of private investment in clean energy — those are REAL jobs. The Valero/Logue initiative will kill our chances to boost our economic pie. In fact, in this recession, this sector is the fastest-growing one.

    Your articles would be more credible if they actually had some balance to them.

    Reply this comment
  3. Tom Tanton
    Tom Tanton 6 March, 2010, 11:06

    It’s almost funny that Brown gave the title such bias against “large polluters” when AB32’s major (billions and billions) of economic harm is on poor and minority communities. All for ZERO (well, maybe 0.005 degree) change. Green jobs? Never mind..gain one, lose 2 1/2. EVERY independent economic analysis (independent of CARB buying the analysis) shows HUGE (billions) of lost economic activity anad millions of lost jobs.
    Forget to check your tires?…bring a toothbrush, you’ll spend the night in jail.

    Reply this comment
  4. Wendy Leece
    Wendy Leece 6 March, 2010, 14:29

    Implementation of the regulations–by non elected officials (CARB) is taking away the land use rights of local elected officials to plan their cities. As Mayor Pro Tem of the City of Costa Mesa our staff is spending hours trying to figure out how the new regs will have to be implemented. We will have to change our General Plan because of the new regulations. Developers will pay more fees. Forget new single family dwelligs–it will be too expensive. For example, new homes will have to have fire sprinkler systems. We need to support this initiative and save jobs.

    Reply this comment
  5. TheTruthSquad
    TheTruthSquad 8 March, 2010, 14:47

    Wendy — You should check with the council of Redlands or Costa Mesa. Both are supportive of AB32 and have figured it out.

    Reply this comment
  6. TheTruthSquad
    TheTruthSquad 8 March, 2010, 14:47

    Excuse me…Redlands or Taft.

    Reply this comment
  7. C Walker
    C Walker 8 March, 2010, 15:22

    This initiative will likely cost Logue his seat. That is the only potential positive outcome.

    The fact that the initiative is finance by a grand total of TWO entities should tell you all you need to know.

    The fact that they are not headquartered in CA tells you even more than you need to know.

    The fact that the title submitted was completely tossed because it is NOT a jobs bill tells you how misleading the sponsors will be while gathering signatures.

    Goodbye Assemblyperson Logue. You can always find a job in NEVADA. OH, but that dog and pony show, as Dan at the SACBEE CALLED IT, perhaps you may go to the location of your financial compatriots.

    Reply this comment
  8. Gayle Kindall
    Gayle Kindall 8 March, 2010, 23:23

    how do we keep ab32 suspended>

    Reply this comment
  9. Æ
    Æ 10 March, 2010, 10:55

    @TTS – and when Californians are poorer, after high energy costs increase the prices of everything, where will we be? The poorest will be the most impacted. Small businesses, which are the engines of innovation and job creation, will be more impacted than the large, evil corporations you likely fear and rightly distrust.
    Can you provide a link detailing the claim of $50 billion of private money please? Most of those “green” jobs would not exist without heavy subsidies. Doesn’t he fact that they must be subsidized suggest that the technologies are not viable at this time? There are some recent publications that support this position. The Heartland Institute recently referenced a study showing wind power to be 75% more expensive than coal, and solar photovoltaic to be 887% more expensive (without subsidies). The Heritage Foundation just released a study on green jobs. It found that: “increased energy prices would cost jobs elsewhere in the economy, cancelling out the increase in green jobs.” I suggest you review them.
    1. The Cap & Trade Handbook. 2009 http://www.heartland.org/books/PDFs/CapTrade.pdf
    2. Green Jobs: Environmental Red Tape Cancels Out Job Creation. February 2010
    http://www.heritage.org/Research/EnergyandEnvironment/wm2795.cfm

    Reply this comment

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