So, who—or maybe what—would you rank as Eco-Enemy No. 1? Once upon a time, and Auntie Ruth is unafraid to date herself, it was nuclear waste. Then toxic waste. Pesticides, back when. Then it was the hole in the ozone; more recently, it was that conspiring hoodoo of threats clumped under the title of “climate change.” Never mind. All those need now scoot over for the biggest threat to Ma Earth—no longer a “what” but a “who,” and not just a “who,” but a California gubernatorial candidate.
Eco Enemy No. 1 is Republican Meg Whitman and, girl, you can relax into the title because No. 2 ain’t even close. Never mind that this billionaire has a sketchy record when it comes to voting, won’t debate other candidates, won’t talk to reporters and says she’ll cut state spending—how are those furlough days working out for y’all?—but no: She’s gunning for Assembly Bill 32, a lone star of sanity shining in this otherwise dark and dismal California night. As Cosmo Garvin detailed in a recent SN&R cover story (“A.B. 32 crunch time,” SN&R Feature Story, February 18), A.B. 32 puts California where we were once most comfortable: leading America by confronting a tough issue. Whitman said she’d suspend A.B. 32 upon taking office.
A recap of A.B. 32 is worth repeating here, and repeating often: By corralling an array of climate initiatives under one bill, A.B. 32 offers six significant regulatory areas that situate California as a leader in fighting climate change. The Big Six includes the simple if controversial cap-and-trade program; the Pavley regs (automakers must reduce emissions from new vehicles by 30 percent before 2016); the low-carbon-fuel standard (10 percent less carbon rich by 2020); renewable-energy goals; stricter regulation of “high global warming potential gases” (like refrigerants); and support of energy-efficient programs.
Auntie R. knows rocket science when she sees it. This ain’t that. This is basic get-up-off-your-ass-and-fix-it stuff. Never mind that the Far Right is attacking Megawhat for a scattershot of environmental donations in the past; never mind a recent L.A. Times editorial questioning her political sense (“environmental protection is strongly favored by independent, decline-to-state voters as well as by large majorities of Democrats”). None of it matters: A.B. 32 is a line drawn in the sand. Which side are you on?