Schwarzenegger praises Waxman-Markey bill — and Rep. Mary Bono Mack

arnold2.jpgRepublican 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

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11 Responses to Schwarzenegger praises Waxman-Markey bill — and Rep. Mary Bono Mack

  1. Peter Croft says:

    It is interesting to compare the US and UK. In the UK the Climate Change Act 2008 was enacted with scarcely a ripple. These are the key provisions:

    And this is the act itself (108 page PDF)

    Maybe I’m biased, but it seems quite a well written and straightforward piece of legislation. Easy to read and with a clear focus on CO2 emissions. It also has a good focus on how the process will develop up to 2050, who will report what back to Parliament, who is responsible for results etc.

    Why is W-M such a long and opaque piece of legislation by comparison?

  2. Peter Croft says:

    And the UK legislation does seem to be working.

    “…UK greenhouse gas emissions are expected to be about 23% below 1990 levels by 2010 – well in excess of the target of 12.5% set out under the Kyoto agreement.”

    As UK citizens we are bombarded by TV advertising on a nightly basis imploring us to cut CO2 – switch things off, insulate homes, change bulbs, etc. It is working, although I think improvements will get progressively harder as the low hanging fruit is taken.

  3. Neil Howes says:

    Are other Republican governors following California’s successful energy conservation policies? If not why not?

  4. John Mashey says:

    re: “Why is W-M such a long and opaque piece of legislation by comparison?”

    [My wife is British; I’ve visited the UK probably 30 times; I once spent several hours explaining Silicon Valley to The Right Honorable (?) Peter Mandelson.]
    Fond though I am of the UK:

    1) The UK is about 60% of the size of California. Very few people live >400 miles from London. In San Francisco area, we’re 2400 miles from Washington, DC.

    2) As complicated as the UK is, it is far less so than the US. States have jealously-guarded rights of various kinds. Economies and philosophies differ widely from area to area.

    I often had friends from Europe, long used to (familiar-feeling) NYC/Boston visits, become quite disoriented on their first visit to NorCal. I recommend to European (including UK :-)) friends, that to better comprehend the US:

    a) Read The Nine Nations of North America.

    b) When comng to visit CA, instead of flying here, fly to NY (or even better, Boston), and then *drive* here. Boston->Pittsburgh->St. Louis->Kansas->Colorado->Arizona->NM->SoCal->NorCal gives you a quick look at 6 of the 9 nations (New England, Foundry, Breadbasket, Empty Quarter, Mex-America, and Ecotopia. Kansas alone is almost as big as the UK, and has less than 3M people.

    3) Back to your question:

    This past April, there was a nice lecture at Stanford:

    How Energy Policy Is Really Made

    Tara Billingsley, Professional Staff, Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, U.S. Senate

    I often had colleagues from Europe, long used to NYC/Boston visits, become quite disoriented on their first visit to NorCal.

    She gave a candid description, including reference to the old saw about “laws and sausages”, for which she offered frequent examples.

  5. danl says:

    “In fact, the Department of Energy estimates that a carbon cap will cost the average American household as little as $98 a year….”

    Are we sure that Arnold means the DOE? It sounds like the EPA to me.

    Then Gov. George Bush sighed Texas’ renewable electricity standard, the strongest in the country. Aside from their terrible emissions record, Texans actually have a great renewables program. The irony is pretty shocking.

  6. Will says:

    Love Arnold.

    We can’t be climate girlymen, we have to act.

  7. Anne says:

    Aw, let’s face it. The Terminator Gov has a crush on Mary (and Cher too for that matter, right?)

    That said, Mary knows her district. Wind farms run amok there, in Palm Springs, home of the “rat pack”, Sinatra, and, well, wind turbines. 4000 of them.

    See for example…

    She knows damn well, more than most, likely, that when a reporter includes a sexy photograph of wind turbines as a visual for an article about how “cool” it is to have a star pad in the desert — and with the caption —

    “Exploiting the breezes that funnel through the mountain pass, some 4,000 wind turbines stand spinning in the fields in a silent ballet that provides power for the entire valley’ Photo: GETTY”

    and goes on to talk about Brad Pitt and Bob and Delores Hope —

    well, this is the future. No longer is wind energy relegated to “Public Utilities Fortnightly” or the AWEA website (with all due respect to the fabulous AWEA website and AWEA’s founder and director for decades, Randy Swisher..)

    Mary knows her base. He base is wind. Wind is baseload power, well, almost. Pretty close to being baseload. She hit first base by siding with the Ds in E&C Commitee on the Waxman-Markey bill. She has chutzpah. She has charm. She has grace. She had Sonny. Sonny had Cher. The Gov wants Cher.

    How perfect can this set-up be?????

  8. Peter Croft says:

    John Mashey

    I don’t buy your explanation, for one simple reason. UK climate legislation has flowed down from Europe, and there can be no more disfunctional institution than that, or more contrast between the member states! Yet somehow Europe as a whole is reducing emissions.

    There could not be two more diferent countries than France and Britain. Culturally we are world’s apart and like all good neigbours we hate each other. Yet on climate change we seem to be more or les in accordance.

    There seems to be a perception in the US that any form of CO2 reduction is impossible. The experience in the UK is that this is just not the case. My personal experience in our house is that a huge amount can be achieved relatively easily (insulation, light bulbs, turning stuff off when its not being used, line-drying clothes, etc). It is very satisfying to see the energy bills plummet as well.

    The US just need to get started. That’s all.

  9. Leland Palmer says:

    I’ve always detested Arnold, at least since he became Governator. Jesus – raise taxes, already, you dummy! We’re sitting on a 20 billion dollar budget shortfall!

    But his position on climate change has totally redeemed him in my eyes.

    It’s a courageous position, one he has taken criticism for, among the deniers, who mock him and call him Schwarzenutter for his support of the issue.

  10. Peter – the difference between David Cameron and Sarah Palin on climate issues is part of your answer, along with John Mashey’s explanation. And then there’s the independent legislative branch we have here in the States.

    It’s not all bad – as supine as the Democrats were, they still probably blunted the worst that the Bush Administration had to offer.

    Back in the 1970s, the Republicans competed with Democrats over who offered the best enviro legislation. I figure after they lose two more presidential elections, they’ll finally start becoming realistic.

  11. John Mashey says:

    Peter: how much time have you spent in the USA? Where? How many states? Have you visited the US Senate? Talked to people who work there?

    Note that I live near San Francisco. I would claim that NorCal and (for example) Oklahoma (home of James Inhofe) are *far* more different in some ways than the UK and {France, Germany, etc}. Actually, even NorCal and SoCal are sometimes more different. Europeans (even including the UK, if that’s appropriate) often don’t quite understand this, hence my recommendations were quite serious.

    The UK and France are *obviously* different, but by US standards, both are small, dense countries whose cities mostly grew up before cars, and (with exception of relatively recent North Sea), never had a lot of indigenous oil & gas to make suburbs cheap, and which have relatively less extreme climates compared to some parts of the USA. [Not here, thank goodness.]

    In any case, *you* cannot be any more frustrated with US than we are here in CA, although after 8 years of having to sue the US Federal Government, hopefully we won’t have to be doing that.

    If you’re not familiar with difference among states in energy use, you might want to check this, see righthand column. Arnold’s done well [even with the dysfunctional state government structures here, which do rival EU weirdness] with energy, but it certainly didn’t start with him.