The NY Times on AB 32: “Who wins if this law is repudiated? The Koch brothers, maybe, but the biggest winners will be the Chinese, who are already moving briskly ahead in the clean technology race.”

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"The NY Times on AB 32: “Who wins if this law is repudiated? The Koch brothers, maybe, but the biggest winners will be the Chinese, who are already moving briskly ahead in the clean technology race.”"

“And the losers? The people of California, surely. But the biggest loser will be the planet.”

The Koch brothers are leading the effort to destroy a livable climate and thwart efforts to restore US leadership in what will be the biggest job-creating industry of this century, low-carbon cleantech (see “The dirty oil coalition behind the Proposition 23 effort to stop clean energy just got a lot dirtier“).

The New York Times has a terrific lead editorial on the subject, “The Brothers Koch and AB 32,” which deserves to be widely read:

Four years ago, bipartisan majorities in the California Legislature approved a landmark clean energy bill that many hoped would serve as a template for a national effort to reduce dependence on foreign oil and mitigate the threat of climate change.

Now a well-financed coalition of right-wing ideologues, out-of-state oil and gas companies and climate-change skeptics is seeking to effectively kill that law with an initiative on the November state ballot. The money men include Charles and David Koch, the Kansas oil and gas billionaires who have played a prominent role in financing the Tea Party movement.

The 2006 law, known as AB 32, is aimed at reducing California’s emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases to 1990 levels by 2020 and by 80 percent at midcentury. To reach these targets, state agencies are drawing up regulations that would affect businesses and consumers across the board “” requiring even cleaner cars, more energy-efficient buildings and appliances, and power plants that use alternative energy sources like wind instead of older fossil fuels.

The prospect that these rules could reduce gasoline consumption strikes terror into some energy companies. A large chunk of the $8.2 million raised in support of the ballot proposition has come from just two Texas-based oil and gas companies, Valero and Tesoro, which have extensive operations in California. The Koch brothers have contributed about $1 million, partly because they worry about damage to the bottom line at Koch Industries, and also because they believe that climate change is a left-wing hoax.

They have argued that the law will lead to higher energy costs and job losses, arguments that resonate with many voters in a state with a 12.4 percent unemployment rate. But this overlooks the enormous increase in investments in clean energy technologies “” and the jobs associated with them “” since the law was passed.

Overturning AB 32 would be another setback in the effort to fight climate change. The United States Senate has already scuttled President Obama’s goal of putting a price on carbon. The Environmental Protection Agency, while important, can only do so much. This leaves state and regional efforts as crucially important drivers “” and if California pulls back, other states like New York that are trying to reduce emissions may do so as well.

The Kochs and their allies are disastrously wrong about the science, which shows that man-made emissions are largely responsible for global warming, and wrong about the economics. AB 32’s many friends “” led by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger of California “” have therefore mounted a spirited counterattack in defense of the law.

Another respected Republican, George Shultz “” a cabinet member in both the Nixon and Reagan administrations “” has signed on as a co-chairman of this effort. Mr. Shultz credits AB 32 for an unprecedented “outburst” of technological creativity and investment.

Who wins if this law is repudiated? The Koch brothers, maybe, but the biggest winners will be the Chinese, who are already moving briskly ahead in the clean technology race. And the losers? The people of California, surely. But the biggest loser will be the planet.

Hear!  Hear!

Related Posts:

Here are five things you can do to win this fight:

  1. Visit the “No on 23″³ website, learn the facts & sign up:  www.StopDirtyEnergyProp.com.
  2. Educate yourself on how California’s climate & energy laws have created companies & jobs:  www.CABrightSpot.com.
  3. Tell your friends by email, on Facebook, at work, & everywhere else.
  4. Participate in the debate. Write letters to the editor and post comments on blogs & websites.
  5. Contribute (click here). The other side’s leader, right-wing California Assemblyman Dan Logue, has publicly said he expects the oil companies to spend $50 million.

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4 Responses to The NY Times on AB 32: “Who wins if this law is repudiated? The Koch brothers, maybe, but the biggest winners will be the Chinese, who are already moving briskly ahead in the clean technology race.”

  1. Doug Bostrom says:

    Naked money, naked aggression. How can we thrive when these things are not held accountable for honesty?

  2. cheflovesbeer says:

    Humanity will be the biggest loser as we will no longer be able to survive. The planet will be just fine without us!

  3. Prokaryotes says:

    We have to deal with these problems now. The effects of climate change through climate weirding become more pronounced, thus destroying more carbon sinks and affecting all of earth broadband – most of the times in a very negative way for habitats. The time frame is outside of the human imaginable realm – if you do not apply scientific understanding.

    We need to change our lifestyles, because how we use the natural world so far impacts us over time negatively. However if we change our habits, we can gain and prosper. It is these kind of potentials which form the next “industrial revolution” to found the basis for a new better – prosper economy. The future is now, we can no longer afford to trash the world we learned to occupy.

  4. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Until the citizens of the US realise that they live in a morally insane and intellectually bankrupt plutocracy, ruled by a psychopathic, mostly hereditary,business elite, and that their vaunted ‘democracy’ is a pathetic joke, the US will keep going backwards. The US has precisely the same system,in principle, as China-one party rule. The Chinese Party throws up technocrats,engineers and those who can actually understand science and think rationally, while the US Party, the Party of Wealth,throws up insane ideologues, driven by hatred and paranoia. The Greeks had a name for the US system,as it actually exists-‘kakistocracy’, the rule of the worst in society.Why not try public financing of all elections, for a start, and cut the election buying kleptocrats off at the knees? Then do something about your media oligopolies, the kakistocrats’ brainwashing apparatus.