Another View: New economy takes on old economy on climate bills

Jason Anderson
Jason Anderson

In “Flaws in climate legislation need to be fixed” (Viewpoints, Sept. 6), Robert Lapsley and Dorothy Rothrock sound the same alarms that the opposition to clean energy policies have been sounding for years. This despite the fact that California’s corporate, manufacturing and small business communities are thriving.

You’ve seen the positive numbers before about California’s innovation, job creation, record investments and gross domestic product. We’re achieving strong economic growth as we’re transforming our energy mix.

The basis of opponents’ claims is that new laws like Senate Bill 350 and Senate Bill 32 will hurt Californians just as our state’s landmark climate law, AB 32, has caused any number of problems for the state’s business community. The facts do not bear this out.

The think tank Next 10 just released a study showing that energy policies that promote efficiency and reduce energy bills are contributing to the state’s manufacturing success. Meanwhile, consumers are saving money, communities are benefiting, air quality is improving and businesses are growing.

We acknowledge that some business leaders may disagree. You could argue that our views diverge because we represent the “new economy” – our members, who also are business leaders, are locating their companies in California precisely because of the state’s policy environment.

In 2006, when AB 32 was moving through the legislative process, opponents made the same arguments. In the end, it became law, and the state is better for it.

We have provided a model for other states and nations to follow (and they are following), in order to address one of the most critical issues of our time. After California adopted its Advanced Clean Car Standards program, the federal government made our standards the law of the land. There is a precedent to suggest that as California goes, so goes others.

The authors of SB 350 and SB 32 have offered amendments, and have shown flexibility in acknowledging challenges faced by those that would be most impacted by the bills. But no amendments are likely to satisfy those who would prefer us to turn back the clock instead of pushing forward to seek a clean energy future.

As to California fighting a global problem, we say: Thank goodness. Climate change is a global issue – that means we should be doing everything in our power to stop it from worsening. Our communities, our health and our economy will be the better for it.

Jason Anderson is president of Cleantech San Diego, which represents more than 100 businesses in the San Diego region. Dennis Murphy is the founding chair of the U.S. Green Building Council California.