Opinion: Greenhouse gas law doesn’t deal with pollution

In recent months, my taking the lead to suspend AB 32 has garnered the attention of media outlets across the nation and most importantly that of Californians. I am glad that people are taking the time to discuss this momentous issue, seeing how it will affect California for years to come. However, much of what has been published has been one-sided and at times downright misleading. It is important now, more than ever, for Californians to get the facts straight and make an informed decision for their future and that of our great state.

The Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, otherwise known as AB 32, was designed to counter global warming, and that alone. Some have suggested that taking a stand against AB 32 will jeopardize our health and lower air quality standards, but they are mistaken. The intent of AB 32 is to target green house gas emissions; this is not to be confused with “smog” or other chemicals found to be harmful to your health. In fact, the main green house gas cited, carbon dioxide, is critical to all life on Earth and is not labeled by the government as a pollutant. (But they did say it “endangers public health.”) It is akin to declaring water vapor a pollutant. This bill will do nothing to address the air quality problems or concerns facing Californians today. We are chasing a phantom in an economy where 2.26 million people are out of work. A stand to suspend AB 32 is a stand for common sense, a stand for California’s once vibrant economy, and a stand for the hardworking families across our Golden State.

A go-at-it-alone effort is foolhardy, especially considering the fact that most nations, including the United States, have yet to ratify any protocol, much less agree on their share of the burden. In a global perspective, any emissions reduction result of AB 32 will be easily negated by the 600 new coal-fired power plants in China or India. This is also true on the national level as California is experiencing an unprecedented exodus of businesses to other states. Can “global warming” be affected at all by the singular efforts of California when our neighbors to the east and to the south don’t share the same sentiments? If anything, the implementation of AB 32 will increase pollution worldwide because underdeveloped nations will be expanding industrial production with little or no environmental oversight. It has been shown that when we cut back manufacturing, we export the jobs and emissions to other countries. And other countries are less efficient, so total emissions go up. Furthermore, we know that there are large scientific uncertainties about the whole global warming issue.

In this economy most businesses are struggling to stay afloat and senseless regulations will only force them to move, taking all the jobs with them. Why is California fighting to implement a bill that will cripple our ability to compete economically, especially now when we need it most?

AB 32 will be detrimental to California’s already frail economy and impact the very programs keeping our air and waters clean. By driving businesses out of state, California will be left with displaced workers and lower tax revenues. Lower revenues would severely limit the state’s ability to provide for the programs that we hold dear, resulting in further budget cuts and needs going unmet. It’s time for Californians to seek out the truth and make common sense choices to get our state working again.

Want to see more stories like this? Sign up for The Roundup, the free daily newsletter about California politics from the editors of Capitol Weekly. Stay up to date on the news you need to know.

Sign up below, then look for a confirmation email in your inbox.


Support for Capitol Weekly is Provided by: