Logue’s looking backward

Effort to stymie state’s landmark global-warming bill is misguided

Local Assemblyman Dan Logue (R-Marysville) wants to delay implementation of AB32, the state’s landmark global-warming law. He sponsored a bill to that effect (AB118), but it got nowhere in the Legislature. Now he’s trying to qualify his so-called “California Jobs Initiative” for the November ballot.

The measure would delay implementation of AB32 until the state’s unemployment level, now at 12.4 percent, is less than 5.5 percent, something that is likely to take several years. It would suspend the proposed cap-and-trade program, as well as emissions-reducing rules that already have been adopted by the California Air Resources Board. Logue’s argument is that AB32 will impede the state’s economic recovery.

But will it? According to the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office, the measure would cripple but not completely dismantle the state’s effort to reduce GHG emissions, could lead to bigger short-term profits for some businesses, but also could dampen investments in clean technology and green jobs.

The latter is extremely important. Clean technology is the fastest-growing sector of the state’s economy. In a press release Monday (Jan. 25), the Green Chamber of Commerce, a group representing clean-tech businesses across the state, echoed the LAO’s findings that suspending AB32 would cost thousands of Californians their jobs and chill investment in the state’s fast-growing clean-tech economy.

“California has more to gain from the green economy than any other state and risks a loss of more than $80 billion in gross state product and more than a half-million jobs by 2020 if we fail to implement this law as scheduled,” said Mike Mielke, with the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, which represents more than 200 of the valley’s most respected employers.

Assemblyman Logue scoffs at the notion that clean technology and other kinds of innovation can help to pull California out of the recession. He prefers to look backward, not forward. But abandoning AB32 would be disastrous in two ways: It would send exactly the wrong message to those capitalists now investing billions of dollars in green technology, and it would end California’s leadership role in responding to the crisis of planetary climate change.