Will California’s Voters Reject their Global Warming Act?

A citizen’s initiative that looks likely to make it onto the November ballot this year is the aptly named “California Jobs Act,” which would suspend implementation of AB32, California’s Global Warming Act, until unemployment in the Golden State drops down to 4.8%. Passed in 2006, AB32 calls for California’s Air Resources Board (CARB) to write new regulations designed to lower, by 2020, California’s greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels. According to CARB’s report “California 1990 Greenhouse Gas Emissions Level and 2020 Emissions Limit,” in 1990, Californian’s emitted 433 million metric tons of “CO2 equivalents” in 1990, and by 2004 these greenhouse gasses had increased to an estimated 484 million metric tons.

Back in 2006, when AB32 was passed by California’s State legislature, and signed by Governor Schwarzenegger, California’s economy was at the crest of the debt-fueled housing-bubble boom. Now that California’s unemployment rate is nearly 13%, the highest in the nation, it is dawning on California’s voters that schemes to go it alone and adopt the bleeding edge of climate mitigation policies may not be the best prescription for economic recovery. Notwithstanding promises of abundant “green jobs,” and visions of a prospering “green economy,” what is most likely to be the economic outcome if California fully implements AB32 by 2012 as planned?

There are several examples surfacing that suggest CARB’s original economic assessment was overly optimistic. An analysis on theRead More