CLCV launched our “Build a Greener Governor” campaign exactly one year in advance of the critical November 2010 governor’s race. As environmental voters know, the candidate that becomes governor of California will have enormous opportunity to continue to lead the nation, and the world, in developing solutions to environmental challenges including climate change. Now, a Reuters analysis says that the outcome of our state’s 2010 gubernatorial contest is “key” to the national response to climate change. We couldn’t agree more.
According to the article:
California’s governor race is shaping up to be a referendum on the most aggressive U.S. plan to cut greenhouse gases in a vote from the trend-setting state that could hobble such efforts nationwide.
The state is a hub for investment in “cleantech”, which could be at risk with any policy change, and has a governor and senior congressional representatives who have led President Barack Obama’s push for a U.S. climate change law.
The face-off to replace Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in November offers a clear choice on the issue, which for many will come down to whether laws on climate change help the state lead in new ‘green’ industries or drive firms out of business or out of state in reaction to higher costs.
So, how are the candidates’ positions on solving climate change shaping up? Unfortunately, two of the three major candidates that remain in the race have threatened to suspend California’s landmark Global Warming Solution Act (AB 32).
Former eBay chief Meg Whitman and Silicon Valley colleague Steve Poizner, the Republicans vying for the job, both would put the 2006 landmark air pollution law on hold. State Attorney General Jerry Brown, the unofficial Democratic candidate, would defend it…
“Colorado, Utah, Texas, they are competing for our jobs,” Whitman said recently. She believes “overreaching environmental regulations” are part of the problem, although she supports a target for the state to get a third of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020, arguing it will create jobs.
Poizner in a statement said the climate change law “sent a message to every business and every manufacturer that it’s going to cost you more to do business in … California.”
As attorney general, Brown sued the federal government to force it to regulate greenhouse gases, saying on his website, “I am committed to doing everything in my power to ensure that California meets its greenhouse gas reduction targets.”
In addition to the damage that will be done to California’s air quality and ability to mitigate dangerous climate change in our state, many business leaders warn that suspending the law would be catastrophic to the effort to transition to a clean energy economy that creates jobs while moving California away from polluting fossil fuels. They add that putting the brakes on the clean energy transition in California would cripple climate change solutions at the national level.
Matt Golden, president of building efficiency start-up Recurve, says putting a price on carbon, as the 2006 law will do, is the key to leveling the playing field with dirtier power, and suspending the law would set back the state.
“You throw all this risk into the equation and venture capital firms are banking on us building this new order, this new market. If you stop this evolution, it is going to be a hell of a lot less bankable,” he said.
And if California puts its law on hold, the chance of a federal move drops close to zero, he argues.
“I think it might put a nail in the coffin of climate change nationally,” he said.
California’s status as a world leader on climate change and clean technology and our environmental heritage are all at stake in the 2010 Election. It’s time to make sure all of the candidates for governor in California hear your voice loud and clear. Sign up on our Greener Governor 2010 campaign Web site and let them know that you’ll vote for the candidate who promises to make California a national environmental leader. Tell them you refuse to vote for a candidate who will compromise and bargain away California’s unique environmental values an the laws that make those values a reality.
If you care about the quality of life in California, including the strength of our economy, our natural beauty, wild places, natural resources, and the public’s health, then California needs you to help elect the candidate who will protect the environment. We hope you’ll join us and help Build a Greener Governor for California’s future.