By Riggs Eckelberry, CEO, OriginOil
Proposition 23, a controversial initiative going to California voters November 2, stands to be one of the biggest setbacks for national clean energy and climate-change policy.
If passed, Prop 23 would effectively overturn California’s landmark global warming legislation, suspending California’s 2006 history-making climate bill, AB32, which mandates a 25% reduction in the state’s greenhouse gas emissions by 2020.
Why should we oppose their ballot initiative? Because Prop 23 will threaten the environment and will damage California’s green job creation. Clean technology is California’s newest boom industry, akin to the aerospace and high tech industries that literally built our modern state into the G-8 sized powerhouse that it is today.
AB 32 maintains the market certainty needed for investment, research and development of inventions as well as jobs. Since its passage, clean tech venture capital in California has skyrocketed, with investments of more than $6.5 billion. As the economy slowed between 2007 and 2008, total employment fell by 1 percent, but clean tech jobs continued to grow 5 percent. That’s something we need to reinforce, not cut back.
If we suspend AB 32, as Big Oil wants, all of that potential will be put on hold. Why should we help large oil companies maximize their profits? We do not charge them a dime for drilling in sometimes-sensitive areas like the Santa Barbara Channel. And the heavy metals and pollution from petroleum create a toxic environment for our children and us.
We have to increase our support for clean energy, not cut it back. Because we can’t just talk the talk; we have to walk the walk, too.
I love California, and we have great talent here. But until AB 32 is fully implemented, no one is purchasing the cleaner fuels here. As a result, companies like mine are doing research in state, but producing fuels where consumers are located. My own company, OriginOil, has already found its first major customer – in Australia!
We cannot be a state that promotes its clean tech industry to the rest of the world, but does not itself implement the most basic reforms to its own energy policy. That is how countries like Australia get those green jobs instead of California. Passage of Proposition 23 will accelerate that shift of jobs overseas, hurting California even more in the long term!
Riggs Eckelberry is CEO of OriginOil, a Los-Angeles-based technology provider to the fast-growing algae to oil industry. The company was founded in June 2007, filed for a public offering and has been trading as OOIL (OTCBB) since April 2008.