In 2006, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into law the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (AB 32) – one of the first and most comprehensive climate change laws passed in America. But today, a new measure to appear on California’s ballot in November seeks to remove the protections put in place four years ago.
As originally reported by Huffington Post blogger Laura Bassett, Proposition 23, also known as the California Jobs Initiative, would “temporarily” suspend the environmental protections of AB 32 in order to create new jobs for a state with an unemployment rate that exceeds 12%. Once the state’s unemployment rate falls below 5.5%, Prop 23 allows for the environmental safeguards to be put back into place.
But Bassett found out who was really behind this initiative, and reported the following in her blog post:
"While the proposition claims to be about creating jobs in California, its biggest financial backers are Texas oil companies, including Valero and Tesoro Corporations, who have donated $4 million and $525,000, respectively, to the initiative…Other controversial supporters of Prop. 23 include the Adam Smith Foundation, a right-wing nonprofit in Missouri that has recently been accused of abusing its tax status to funnel money into the initiative without having to disclose its donors. The foundation donated a conspicuous $498,000 to the initiative, which California's Capitol Weekly pointed out is quite a lot, considering the group raised a total of only $5,000 in 2009."
The groups claim that AB 32 is costing them too much money every year (in order to reduce their carbon emissions and adhere to other provisions of the law that require stricter standards for disposing of waste,) and because of these additional costs, they are not currently able to hire new workers. However, reports show that corporate profits are up across the board in America, yet companies are still refusing to hire new workers.
As California’s AB 32 fact sheet shows, the green technology sector is growing more jobs faster than any other industry. In addition, California has already pulled in billions of dollars from investment firms for clean energy technological development.
Prop 23 will be on the California ballot in November, and the voters of the state will have to weigh the risks of climate change against the “promise” that the oil industry will create more jobs in their state.
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