News

It’s not mere hot air: California engaged in greenhouse gas policy debate

Business, consumers and lawmakers are right to share the goal of protecting
California from the adverse effects of climate change. Our efforts in this
area have positioned California as the national leader in both energy
efficiency and the use of alternative and renewable fuels.

Gov. Schwarzenegger’s order for further reductions in greenhouse gas
emissions will push our state to identify and implement programs to address
this global concern. While our leadership role is important, it is critical
that new greenhouse gas policies must benefit California’s citizens and its
environment, protect jobs, and ensure that our state remains competitive in
U.S. and global markets.

That’s why a broad coalition of employers, consumers and others has come
together to form a new alliance, SEE California (Sustainable Economy and
Environment for California.) This new group is working to ensure that any
greenhouse gas policies provide tangible, long-term solutions that will
significantly mitigate the impacts of climate change on the state, while
taking into account direct impacts on California jobs, economy and the
environment.

Lawmakers in Sacramento are poised to begin debate on a number of greenhouse
gas reduction policies based on the findings of the Climate Action Team
(CAT) Report to the Governor and an accompanying Economic Analysis. While
the report is large, with well over 1,000 pages of analysis and appendices,
its findings are short of being comprehensive and lack the detail required
to make good decisions for the future of our state.

Of particular concern are the findings of the CAT Economic Analysis. A new
critical review of the CAT Economic Analysis by the Sacramento Regional
Research Institute (SRRI) casts doubt on the credibility of the findings of
the study, calling them “not convincing” due to a general lack of
documentation and supporting data, as well as an inadequate explanation of
the vague methodology used to reach its conclusions. SSRI also found that
the “CAT Economic Assessment does not provide an adequate analysis of
whether Executive Order S-3-05 (the governor’s order establishing greenhouse
gas emissions targets) will generate a net cost or benefit to the state.”

The lack of transparency and clear documentation of the CAT analysis is
equally troubling. At the very least, CAT needs to release the methodology,
economic inputs, models, and findings used to produce their report so that a
more complete and thorough peer review can be made of the potential economic
and jobs impacts of greenhouse gas emission reduction strategies.

California’s citizens deserve to know the true impacts of the various
proposals being considered to address this global problem.

The immediate release of this additional background documentation is
absolutely critical, as it will provide an opportunity for third-party
review. Such reviews will provide our elected officials with the certainty
their policies are based on thorough and accurate research.

Despite serious concerns about the CAT economic analysis, California shares
the Administration’s desire to address global climate change and wants to
work cooperatively toward maintaining California’s current global leadership
on the issue. However, we need to know the true impacts of these proposals
before a responsible debate can move forward.

The full SRRI report can be found at www.srri.net


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