The mere thought of 111-degree weather is excruciating. Daily life, as I found it several weeks ago at this astounding temperature, borders on impossible without air-conditioning. Anyone who was in the San Luis Obispo area during that heat spell knows precisely what I mean.
The predicted effects of global warming are becoming evident. As temperatures are increasing worldwide, so is support for the green movement. Concerned citizens are seeking ways to contribute to the movement. But there is opposition: Proposition 23 on the Nov. 2 ballot.
Proposition 23, if passed, would lead to more air pollution and lost jobs. It is intended to roll back California’s Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, Assembly Bill 32. AB 32 was passed with bipartisan support and signed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The landmark law mandates that significant emitters of greenhouse gases, such as large factories and oil refineries, must report their emissions and take immediate action to prevent further pollution. A cap was placed on the amount of emissions a facility could produce, in an attempt to reduce pollution to the levels of 1990 by the year 2020. Large companies have been encouraged to adopt alternative energy sources to keep production high and pollution low. The law has not only led to reduced pollution, but also has helped create jobs in the green economy.
But powerful interests seek to reverse the law and stifle California’s growing clean-energy economy. In particular, two Texas oil companies, Valero and Tesoro, are the major financial backers of the Proposition 23 campaign, having spent millions of dollars in an attempt to pass the proposition.
There’s no surprise the major contributors to Proposition 23 are large oil companies. Supporters of Proposition 23 call it the “California Jobs Initiative” because it calls for the suspension of AB 32 until unemployment drops to 5.5 percent or lower for four consecutive quarters. But such a low rate of unemployment statewide has been rare and of short duration in the past three decades. Thus, Proposition 23 is an extremely deceptive ploy to extinguish growing the green economy in California. Proponents of the proposition claim it would restore California jobs they claim were lost because of AB 32. But those two major oil refineries funding it are headquartered in Texas, not California. There would be no job benefit in California; maybe Texas, but certainly not California. Passage of the proposition would only further California’s dependence on oil and increase consumer costs.
Proposition 23, if passed, would stifle California’s green economy, cause pollution, and result in extensive loss of jobs. The proposition is a deceitful attempt by Texas oil refineries to profit at California’s expense. Many students, including me, are working on behalf of the statewide student-run organization, Calpirg, to oppose this dangerous proposition. Calpirg works in the public interest on environmental issues.
Californians should not stand for the gross injustice threatened by Proposition 23 and must band together and vote no. That vote is crucial for the health of our economy, the health of Californians, and the health of our environment.
Paige Isaacson is the media intern for the statewide, student-run organization Calpirg. Calpirg is a branch of Public Interest Research Groups (Pirg), a nonprofit political lobbying organization in the United States and Canada. Calpirg works in the public interest in such areas as environmentalism, health, and justice. Contact her via the opinion editor at [email protected].