California Forum

Keep California’s progress on combating climate change on track

Mary Solecki
Mary Solecki

Readers should take the viewpoints of the California Manufacturers and Technology Association and the California Business Roundtable criticizing Assembly Bill 32, California’s signature climate change law, with a tablespoon of salt. (“Before expanding climate law, fix existing problems”; Viewpoints, July 6).

A good portion of the uncertainty surrounding AB 32 is the result of organizations like theirs standing in the way of progress on climate change for more than a decade through endless multimillion-dollar lobbying campaigns, lawsuits and other stall tactics. Their viewpoints are also at odds with some of their own members.

As organizations collaborating with businesses that are flourishing in California’s clean energy economy, we know firsthand that the best antidote to regulatory uncertainty is action – not further delay.

That’s why we support Senate Bill 32. It would set another 10-year goal to keep California’s progress on mitigating climate change on track – a goal that even the authors of the opinion piece admit is an “important milestone.”

Today, the clean energy economy is employing more than a half-million Californians up and down the state, adding 100,000 new jobs in the past two years. E2, a nonpartisan business group, routinely ranks California among its top job creators in its quarterly Clean Energy Jobs report.

Contrary to Dorothy Rothrock and Rob Lapsley’s hand-waving, California’s climate law is lowering energy costs for businesses and consumers. Just last month, a report from the sustainability nonprofit Ceres found that the state’s largest electric utilities lead the nation on renewable energy and energy efficiency. It credits California’s strong clean energy policies for spurring the right investments, job growth and helping to reduce electricity bills for residents across the state.

As a Consumers Union study found, California households will save thousands on their fuel bills thanks to improved vehicle efficiency, reduced travel times, and more competition and consumer choice being delivered by our clean transportation programs.

A conclusion from all this: reducing pollution and fostering economic growth can go hand in hand.

Securing and extending these economic benefits requires a clear commitment by the governor and the Legislature to stay the course. So while we can debate how best to reduce carbon pollution and boost clean air, it’s long past time to agree that SB 32 needs to move forward. It will provide the certainty that businesses need to keep investing in a clean and prosperous future for all Californians.

Mary Solecki is the Western States advocate for Environmental Entrepreneurs, E2. Contact her at mary@e2.org. Kirsten James is the California policy director at Ceres. Contact her at james@ceres.org.

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