Big Oil showdown in California: A bipartisan partnership to defeat 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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Big oil showdown in California: Proposition 23 puts clean energy in danger