California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger spoke out against Proposition 23 on Monday. Proposition 23 would overturn California’s landmark climate change law, AB 32 or the Global Warming Solutions Act. AB 32 can be called Schwarzenegger’s environmental legacy, and signing it into law is possibly one of the best things he did as the governor of the most populous state.
Schwarzenegger had some harsh words for the two Texas oil companies, Valero and Tesoro, funding Proposition 23, as the following quotes show:
“They are creating a shell argument that they are doing this to protect jobs. Does anybody really believe these companies out of the goodness of their black oil hearts are spending millions and millions of dollars to save jobs?”
“This is a corruption of the democratic process…Texas oil companies have descended upon California to overturn a California law. There is a struggle playing out right here in California that the world does not know much about.”
“Valero and Tesoro want to stop the movement from old energy to new energy because its means lost market share.”
Schwarzenegger also had something to say about the Republican gubernatorial candidate, Meg Whitman, who says she opposes Proposition 23. “I want her to spend money spend her millions of dollars against Prop 23, that’s real action,” Schwarzenegger said.
Although Whitman opposes Proposition 23, she has said she supports suspending AB 32 for a year until the economy improves. As recently as last week, Whitman released a statement in support of suspending AB 32.
“As I’ve said for more than a year, AB 32 as it stands today is a job killer. We must fix it. My plan is to suspend AB 32 for at least one year while we develop the sensible improvements the law badly needs to protect the jobs of hard working Californians while improving our environment.”
What AB 32 does for the golden state
Schwarzenegger released a press release with a statement on Monday about AB 32, calling its passage four years ago, “great news for Californians because it means jobs, jobs, jobs as we work towards a cleaner, healthier environment.” He added that California is not “slowing down; we’re going to continue moving forward with groundbreaking policies that grow our economy, reduce our country’s dangerous dependence on oil and coal and ensure the California we love will be the California we hand over to the next generation.”
Schwarzenegger’s press release listed what AB 32 has done for California, starting with investment in clean tech. Two facts stand out:
- In 2008, clean tech investment in the state was $3.3 billion, up from $1.5 billion in 2007 and seven times what it was in 2005.
- California has the most clean tech businesses in the U.S. with almost 13,000, and leads the states in patent registrations for green technologies, with 1,400 over the last decade.
The statement also mentioned that California leads the nations in renewable energy development in California. Over 200 renewable energy projects are interested in building and running facilities in the state. The California Energy Commission (CEC) recently approved four large-scale solar projects with 2,000 megawatts (MW) total, including the largest solar energy project in the world which is expected to generate 1,000 MW.
Nine solar thermal energy projects are scheduled to go before the CEC before the end of this year to qualify for federal stimulus funds. If all nine approved, over 4,300 MW of solar power will be added to CA grid, and provide over 8,000 construction jobs and over 1,000 facility jobs.
The world’s largest wind energy project, the Alta Wind Energy Center, which started construction last July in Tehachapi, will generate 1,500 MW. It will increase California’s installed wind power capacity by 30 percent. The project will also increase wind industry jobs in the state by 20 percent, creating over 1,500 domestic manufacturing, construction, operation, and maintenance jobs. Kern County, where the project is located, will benefit with $1.2 billion over the project’s life span.