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

No Profits, No Pensions

California Gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown knows he’s in a fight. His presumptive Republican opponent, Meg Whitman, not only is doing a good job presenting herself as a socially moderate, fiscally conservative candidate, but she has abundant personal wealth she can tap in order to finance her campaign. So Jerry Brown has to turn to the only reliable source of campaign cash out there, the public employee unions.

In Joel Fox’s report of March 22nd entitled “Brown Embraces the Public Unions,” Fox quotes Brown as saying “California’s fiscal problems are not the unions’ fault but that of Wall Street and corporations.” Get ready for a campaign season filled with more bashing of corporations. And here are some reasons why this rhetoric is absurd, nihilistic, corrosive, deceptive, utterly bankrupt, and at least to-date, tragically effective:

Public sector unions are by far the most powerful source of campaign cash in California. They can pretty much spend as much as they want to make sure their candidates get elected, and their opponents are defeated. Without these unions, Jerry Brown wouldn’t have a chance against Meg Whitman. But is Brown only singing the union song in order to get their financial support? After all, in late February 2010, in a closed meeting with a group of California business leaders, Brown admitted the single greatest mistake he made as Governor back in the 1970’s was his decision to sign legislation allowing public sector workers to unionize.

Public sector unions have […] Read More