On November 2, American citizens will go to the polls to elect our political leaders. One state measure demands the attention of environmental and energy interests across the nation: Proposition 23 in California.
Proposition 23 would delay implementation of AB32, the California Global Warming Solutions Act, until state unemployment drops below 5.5 percent. Over $25 million has been raised by advocates and opponents of the measure. In a desperate attempt to save AB32, environmental groups have turned up the propaganda machine.
Assembly Bill 32 was signed into law in September, 2006 by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. The bill requires a reduction in state greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. As tasked, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) developed a “Scoping Plan” in 2008, making AB32 the toughest U.S. climate legislation.
The Plan calls for a Low Carbon Fuel Standard for vehicle fuels, and includes regulations for tires, engine oils, paints, window glazes, and vehicle insurance. New fees and regulations are required for housing, businesses, trucking, refrigerated vehicles, cargo vessels, rail freight, and chemicals. California must participate in the Western Climate Initiative cap-and-trade system. AB32 is a blizzard of new regulations for California consumers and businesses.
But Climatist opponents of Prop 23 (advocates of AB32) are clothing the debate in totally different language. It’s remarkable that the website of “NO on 23,” the leading opponent, never mentions greenhouse gases, and mentions climate change only once. Instead, the site talks about air pollution, dirty energy, and green jobs. It appears that fighting global warming, the stated purpose of AB32, is a loser with California voters.
The League of Conservation Voters declares Prop 23 a “threat to California’s landmark air pollution standards.” This is nonsense. California has a long history of reducing air pollution. The first statewide standards were enacted in 1956, CARB was created in 1969, and the California Clean Air Act went into effect in 1988. Ozone, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, carbon particulates, and other pollutants have been steadily dropping for the last 30 years. The Reason Public Policy Institute finds that emissions from the state automobile fleet are dropping each year by 15% for volatile organic compounds, 13% for carbon monoxide, and 9% for nitrogen oxides. Suspension of AB32, scheduled to take effect during the next two years, would not interrupt the ongoing decline of any of these pollutants. In fact, the act is primarily aimed at reducing carbon dioxide emissions in a futile attempt to reduce global warming.
Climatism, the belief that man-made greenhouse gas emissions are destroying Earth’s climate, has declared war on carbon dioxide and labeled it a “dirty pollutant.” But CO2 is neither dirty nor a pollutant. CO2 is an invisible, harmless gas. It does not cause smoke or smog. In fact, CO2 is plant food, essential for life on Earth, and the best compound humans can put into the atmosphere to grow the biosphere.
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