It’s almost Thanksgiving, and in the spirit of the holiday, I wanted to thank Meg Whitman for her alarming statements about California’s pioneering global warming law. In case anyone missed it: in her September 16th opinion piece in the San Jose Mercury News, Meg Whitman said the following about California’s Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32):

“With this ongoing economic crisis, the governor has the ability to issue an executive order putting a moratorium on most AB32-related rules. I urge him to do so. And if he does not, I will issue that order on my first day as governor.”

It may seem a bit strange to thank Meg Whitman for her completely wrong-headed announcement that as governor, she would issue an executive order suspending the most forward-thinking global warming law in the nation — the law that the United States Congress is using as the basis for its energy bill. The timing for this thank you may seem particularly odd because just yesterday, the California Air Resources Board issued “the nation’s first blueprint for a broad-based cap-and-trade plan” to control global warming. But I’m thanking Meg Whitman because by publicly threatening AB 32, she has already placed environmental issues squarely on the agenda for all of the candidates for governor — something we at CLCV are working to do with our campaign to “Build a Greener Governor.”

I’m not the only one who thinks this is actually a good thing for those of us who want to build a greener governor. According to political writer Phil Trounstine at Calbuzz:

“…in an instant, [Whitman] elevated greenhouse gas emissions and global warming to high-profile status as an issue in the governor’s race… And it guarantees that environmental issues – including Tranquillon Ridge and other offshore oil drilling, a potential oil severance tax, global warming, greenhouse gas emissions, clean technologies, green building standards, etc. – will be key in the debate over who should be governor.”

The Calbuzzer goes on to say:

“A candidate who is seen as anti-environment is going to have trouble getting voters even to listen to his or her message on the other issues. So when PPIC finds that 75% of the voters say it is necessary to take steps to counter the effects of global warming right away and that 75% also say global warming poses a serious threat to the state’s economy and quality of life, why in the world would you take a position against landmark legislation to combat climate change?”

(Good question. Anyone have an answer to that?)

So thanks to Meg Whitman for bringing this issue to voters’ attention so early in the race, and thanks to all the environmental champions who will continue to make the environment a critical, definitive issue in the 2010 governor’s race. Sign up as an “environmental champion,” keep asking the candidates the tough questions, and report back here — we’re waiting to hear more about their solutions for a sustainable, successful, and “green” Golden State.

Posted on November 25, 2009


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