The right thing to do

Local assemblymen Doug LaMalfa and Rick Keene believe the historic global-warming bill, AB 32, passed by the Legislature and signed by the governor last week (on Aug. 31), will be a drag on the state’s economy. That remains to be seen, of course. There’s no way of predicting exactly what effect the bill will have. LaMalfa and Keene could be right, at least in the short term. Then again, they could be wrong.

However, it’s certainly true, as they point out, that reducing greenhouse gases in California by 25 percent over the next 15 years will have only a small impact on global warming planet-wide.

But is that really the issue here? Or is there a higher value to consider? Could it be that AB 32 is simply the right thing to do? We believe so.

With this legislation, California has done something rare: It has taken a position of moral responsibility that puts the long-term health and welfare of the planet ahead of other considerations, including possibly its own short-term interests. State officials have reinforced the notion that responsibility for making the Earth healthier begins with each of us—each person, each city, each state, each nation.

We’re proud that our state has taken a strong stand on global warming. It’s called leading by example. We wish our national government would do likewise, and we encourage other states to join us.

If LaMalfa and Keene had their way, California would wait until everybody else did something about global warming before acting. Of course, if everybody else were waiting too, we’d wait forever. California can’t afford that. Among other things, climatologists predict the decline and eventual disappearance of the Sierra Nevada snowpack, on which the state’s water system is predicated. California had to act—and in a way that would encourage others to join in. That’s exactly what’s been done.

Besides, AB 32 may turn out to be good for the state’s economy. Many business experts believe it will have a powerful ripple effect, spurring the development of new technologies and businesses to meet the challenge of greenhouse-gas reduction. If so, all the better.