Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has arguably done more than any other Governor to promote clean energy and strong climate action. He certainly has earned the right to be heard on national energy and climate legislation, so I am reprinting this recent op-ed.
California has always been on the front lines of progress in America, leading our country into a healthier, wealthier and more secure future.
From motion pictures at the turn of the 20th century to computer software at the turn of the 21st century, our newest high-tech industries have all been launched here.
We’ve led the way toward a cleaner, greener environment, too. I’m proud that our state needs waivers from the Environmental Protection Agency because our air quality standards are so much better than the national average.
Californians understand better than anyone that we need more jobs and a stronger economy. We need to stop climate change “” and our best chance of achieving all three goals is to have Congress put a cap on carbon pollution.
That’s why I’m proud that California has become a leader once again — by championing the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009. The bill was recently passed by the House Energy and Commerce Committee, thanks in large part to the strong support of more than half a dozen members of California’s Congressional delegation, including Palm Springs’ Rep. Mary Bono Mack.
A carbon cap is vital because the pollution that causes climate change has risen to dangerously high levels, and that is largely because the environmental costs are hidden. We pay for the fuel we burn but not for the pollution we emit. That pollution causes serious damage to our world, and in the long run, we all pay for it.
Imagine if we decided to let everyone dump their garbage on their neighbors’ lawns instead of being forced to pay for trash pickup. Sure, it would be cheaper, but it would be disastrous to public health.
A cap creates a symbolic trash collection system for carbon pollution, but it’s more than that. It also creates rewards for companies that invent new, better ways of doing business. A cap will attract investment in the kind of cutting-edge companies for which California is world famous. It will give our state a chance to seize control of the renewable energy industry, which has the potential to create even more jobs and wealth than the Internet did.
California has abundant resources to develop renewable energy, from wave power along the coastline to biofuel from farms.
Palm Springs, which is a treasure trove of potential solar power, should do especially well in the clean energy future “” but capping carbon pollution has the potential to create businesses and jobs all across the country. At the same time, a carbon cap will reduce our dependence on imported oil and will help us avoid the deadly and extremely expensive effects of climate change.
Opponents of the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 used some political scare tactics during the House debates, including the claim that a carbon cap will raise your power bills by thousands of dollars.
In fact, the Department of Energy estimates that a carbon cap will cost the average American household as little as $98 a year, or about a dime a day, per person. The bill also contains provisions to distribute some of the revenue generated to consumers to offset those costs and help keep power costs down.
California’s progressive approach to business and the environment has always served our state well. We don’t shy away from challenges. We embrace new ideas and technologies, and that’s why we so often succeed.
Now, with our economy suffering and the threat of global warming looming, it’s more important than ever that we continue our success rate. The world needs California leadership right now.
That’s why I call on Bono Mack to keep up the good work and get this bill all the way through Congress. If anyone can do it, she can.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger can be reached through www.ca.gov/contact.html.
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- Obama to push for California waiver that mandates cut in auto CO2 emissions
- Schwarzenegger requires 33% renewables by 2020
- The savings from cutting California’s carbon “outweigh the costs”
- Details on EPA Chief’s overruling his staff on CA tailpipe emissions “” and Schwarzenegger’s response
- California dreamin’ becomes reality, Part II
- California shows what Real Climate Progress is