Big Oil showdown in California: A bipartisan partnership to defeat Proposition 23

No to Proposition 23!George Schultz, former Ronald Reagan Administration Secretary of State, and Tom Steyer, CAP Board member, have teamed up as the co-chairs of Californians for Clean Energy and Jobs, the effort to fight Big Oil’s Proposition 23 on the California ballot this coming November. Prop 23 is Big Oil’s blatant attempt to destroy California’s landmark climate bill and supporting clean energy legislation.

What makes this unlikely partnership so significant is that in addition to his duties leading Californians for Clean Energy and Jobs, Schultz is also co-chair of the campaign to elect Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman. Steyer, on the other hand, supports Jerry Brown, and is donating $5 million to fight Prop 23.

To complicate matters even more, the Whitman campaign thus far has chosen to stick with hardline republican talking points denouncing California’s clean energy law as a “job killer.” Whitman makes the following accusation on her campaign website:

“In January, the first AB 32 mandates take effect and will lead to higher energy costs at a time when we can least afford them. They will discourage job creation and could kill any recovery.”

The Global Warming Solutions Act, which was signed into law by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2006, requires the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to develop regulations and market mechanisms that will ultimately reduce California’s greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by 2020. Although the law is credited with creating hundreds of thousands of clean energy jobs, proponents of Prop 23 still suggest that eliminating California’s clean energy industries will somehow reduce unemployment, but their logic is backwards.

Defeating Prop 23 in the upcoming November election will be a crucial step to defending clean energy jobs, businesses, and innovation in California and across the country. This is particularly relevant in the wake of news that the Senate may not be able to enact the national comprehensive clean energy plan that Democrats have labored for all year. A recent report by the Center for Climate Strategies shows how state-level policies like California’s climate law can help set the nation in the right direction towards creating clean energy jobs and reducing pollution, but only if they are protected from short-sighted repeal efforts like Prop 23.

Our guest blogger is Laurel Hunt, a CAPAF intern.

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8 Responses to Big Oil showdown in California: A bipartisan partnership to defeat Proposition 23

  1. fj2 says:

    Let’s hope Jerry Brown hammers this political policy statement anomaly and establishes that Big Oil’s Prop 23 is bad and the Global Warming Solutions Act signed by Governer Arnold Schwarzenegger is good.

  2. wws says:

    On the other hand, if AGW politics can be crushed in California, it can be crushed everywhere. The movement will be dead.

  3. Jakeahearts says:

    A republican for the past thirty years, George Schultz and Paul Volcker are the two intellectual giants I listen to when they comment on current topics. I’ve not been following clean energy issues in California – I will now!

  4. Arkitkt says:

    Meanwhile the usual suspects from the coal industry are funding Carly Fiorina’s run for the Senate and she has stated that “the science of climate change needs to be reviewed.” I supposed she will have her buddies in the coal industry do the revision for her.

  5. Peter Smith says:

    Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Wednesday brought back furloughs for thousands of state workers until California passes a budget that addresses a $19 billion deficit.
    They are morally and financially broke. Now is not the time to buy windmills.

  6. Anna Haynes says:

    Good (from what I could tell) Prop 23 article going into what it would and would not change – and what court battles would likely ensue – at

  7. Steve Bloom says:

    Laurel, an important point is that AB32 itself includes a provision allowing the governor to implement a one-year delay, which is probably how Whitman will try to play both sides of the issue. There’s no limitation on additional delays, although she would be required to do a new one each year. In addition, the delay can be for specific AB32 provisions, which allows for further nuance.

    But it’s starting to look like her room for maneuver will be limited (fresh poll results):

    The survey of 2,502 state residents taken July 6-20 showed 67 percent of them supporting AB32, the groundbreaking state law that mandates a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020.

    In addition, Californians by a nearly 2-1 margin said the state’s actions to reduce global warming would result in more jobs, and 76 percent say the state should regulate greenhouse gases from sources including power plants, cars and factories to accomplish that goal.

    Even though there’s a 48-48 split among likely voters on the delay issue, I think serious pressure from Brown will cause her to back off completely.

  8. Steve Bloom says:

    Per my prior comment, the serious pressure begins.