California’s greenhouse gas bill has been getting strong reactions.
Some support it and some oppose it strongly. So what do you really know about AB 32?
The environmental law AB 32 is a global warming solutions act that was signed in 2006 in order to help California fight global warming by achieving stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations. Since AB 32 contains energy policy changes, it gathers enthusiastic supporters and opponents.
According to the time table established for AB 32, through 2020 the state’s greenhouse gas emissions should be reduced to 1990’s levels, about 25% reduction. The primary goals of AB 32 are to mandate greenhouse gas reporting and to establish energy efficiency standards for buildings and appliances. Another goal of AB 32 is to establish a low carbon fuel standard. AB 32 defines these gases as greenhouse gases (GHGs): carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6).
So what is there to be so passionate about AB 32? Actually, the controversy regarding AB 32 lies mostly in the economic effect of the bill. According to the California Air Resources Board (CARB), AB 32 would create about 10,000 new jobs for California in the next ten years. On the other hand, another study performed for CARB claimed that AB 32 would cost 28$ to 97$ billion dollars over the same period of time.
But apparently, some Texas oil companies are trying so hard to overturn the bill, that they are spending millions of dollars in California to roll back AB 32. The efforts to turn over AB 32 are focusing on the claims that the global warming solution act will increase unemployment and cost more money each year for businesses and households.
Contrary to those claims, AB 32 is expected to boost the local economy and promote new jobs, as well as preserve California’s natural resources. Furthermore, a study that claimed AB 32 will regulate small businesses and cost them 46,691$ a year was flawed and discredited, mainly because the global warming solution act does not regulate small businesses.
Those who oppose the bill claimed that AB 32 will cost each house hold thousands of dollars a year. This allegation was also discredited since the global warming solution act is more likely to save households money: In the past few years the average monthly residential electricity bill in California was almost half that of Texas, thanks to more energy efficient appliances and other measures that were taken.
Another argument is that AB 32 will make California less competitive and will drive businesses out of the state. But in reality, these kinds of policies are making California a leader in green jobs and environmental investments. Actually, more green businesses open in California than in any other state.
The city of Solana beach in southern California passed a resolution in May 2010 to support the continued implementation of AB 32 as scheduled. However, the California Jobs Initiative is calling for an unemployment level of 5.5 percent for four consecutive quarters before enforcing some aspects of the legislation, currently set for January 2012. According to this, the schedule could be delayed significantly because these rates haven’t been seen for the last 30 years, and are very hard to reach in the current economy.
“We strongly support AB 32 and wish it will proceed as scheduled. Solana Beach’s resolution is a symbolic one, but it carries out a positive message to the community. California is a trend leader, and the effect of AB 32 on the environment will not be just controlling GHG in California itself, but hopefully the rest of the country” said David Steel, Vice President of the Green Chamber of Commerce San Diego County.