During the final debate between California gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman and Jerry Brown last week, Whitman said she would suspend the implementation of AB 32 or the Global Warming Solutions Act for a year, but she opposes Proposition 23. Citing a study that has been debunked, Whitman stated that “only three percent of our jobs are green jobs,” and AB 32 “is going to do real damage to the 97 percent of the rest of the jobs in the economy.”
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed AB 32 into law in 2006. Despite claims by Whitman and others, it has not caused a mass exodus out of California by businesses. In fact, more businesses in California are starting up than closing or leaving, according to a study by Next 10. Every year on average, California experiences a net gain of about 58,000 new businesses.
“The California experience demonstrates that reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions can be achieved while also growing the economy,” the Next 10 study declares. During the first half of 2010 California attracted 40 percent of global clean tech venture capital, totaling over $11.6 billion. For every dollar of GDP generated in 2008, California’s economy needed 32 percent less carbon-per-dollar than it did in 1990.
The study found that California manufacturers spend less on electricity. New electricity-intensive businesses “significantly outnumber closings and exits,” with 82,000 new businesses in electricity-intensive industries opened. The study concludes that “opportunities for increased competitiveness and greater savings have emerged for California’s businesses as they respond to the impacts of the changing business climate.”
Brown says Whitman will gut AB 32
When Tom Brokaw, moderator of the final gubernatorial debate, asked Democratic candidate Jerry Brown about a one-year moratorium on AB 32, he answered, “It’s trying to turn the clock back…It creates regulatory uncertainty…doubt for investors.”
In August, Brown said Whitman “will gut AB 32,” and California voters will see “the contrast between my proposal for green jobs and her shilly-shallying on AB 32″ will become clear.” Brown just might be right. An August poll by the Public Policy Institute of California found that 66 percent of respondents support AB 32, and 45 percent believe AB 32 will create jobs.