Local Assemblyman Dan Logue wants to delay implementation of Assembly Bill 32, the state’s landmark global-warming law. He sponsored a bill to that effect (Assembly Bill 118), 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 A.B. 32 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 A.B. 32 will impede the state’s economic recovery.
But will it? According to the Legislative Analyst’s Office, Logue’s measure 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, the Green Chamber of Commerce, a group representing clean-tech businesses across the state, echoed the LAO’s findings that suspending A.B. 32 would cost thousands of Californians their jobs and chill investment in the burgeoning green economy.
“California … 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.
Assemblyman Logue scoffs at the notion that clean technology can help pull California out of the recession. He prefers to look backward, not forward.
Abandoning A.B. 32 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 climate change.