Global Warming Returns to Ballot; Industry-Backed Initiative to Get Vote in California

Article excerpt


Global warming will be on the ballot this November after California state officials this week cleared the way for a vote on an industry-backed initiative that could suspend the state's landmark 2006 climate change statute.

Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vowed to fight to preserve the 2006 law, ensuring the Golden State will witness a major power struggle over the future of renewable energy that is likely to draw national and international attention.

This initiative sponsored by greedy Texas oil companies would cripple California's fastest-growing economic sector, reverse our renewable energy policy and decimate our environmental progress for the benefit of these oil companies' profit margins, Mr. Schwarzenegger said in a statement.

Despite intense opposition from environmental groups, state officials announced Tuesday that the initiative had garnered enough signatures to gain a place on the November ballot.

With the Obama administration struggling to pass a national climate bill curbing greenhouse gas emissions through Congress, supporters of the California Jobs Initiative warn that the state cannot afford its own, even tougher global warming law on emissions, particularly at a time of high unemployment and mounting deficits in Sacramento.

The initiative, launched six months ago by Texas oil titans Valero Energy Corp. and Tesco Corp., would suspend California's global warming law until unemployment falls by more than half. Opponents say that the state has met the economic benchmarks outlined in the measure for only three brief periods in the past three decades.

While the oil giants sparked the initiative effort, the proposal has attracted local sponsors as well, with both the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association and the California Manufacturers and Technology Association pushing the initiative drive.

The global warming law, passed in 2006, limits greenhouse gas emissions from automobiles, oil refineries and other industry sources. Law sponsors say the measure has created a vast market in California for clean, alternative energy sources such as solar and wind power. …