One of the most hotly contested items on this year's California ballot is Proposition 23, an initiative aimed at suspending the State’s landmark AB 32 law (the Global Warming Solutions Act). Prop 23 is being touted as a "jobs initiative," but the real thrust of the proposition is to suspend AB 32 until unemployment reaches a level of 5.5% for four consecutive quarters, a mark that has been hit only a few times in the last 30 years. As a consequence, Prop 23 is effectively a repeal of the law. At a time when the U.S. and California need to redouble its leadership in mitigating climate change and its investment in building a low-carbon economy, Prop 23 would be a major step backwards.
The fourth installment of EU Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW) took place the week of March 22, mainly in Brussels but with satellite events throughout many of the 27 EU Member States. To this observer from Washington, the week's program evoked the old saw, "where you stand depends on where you sit." Brussels and Washington, sitting or standing, are definitely not in the same place.
I do agree that policymakers have to be concerned about dislocation and sectoral job losses and not just net job losses or gains. While AB 32 and other climate change and energy laws undoubtedly present opportunities and risks, it is not a given that there have to be "winners" and “losers".
California’s Global Warming Solutions Act, more commonly referred to as AB 32, is a 2006 landmark piece of legislation aimed at reducing California’s greenhouse gas emissions in a manner that is both cost-effective and maximizes the economic benefits to the State. In the past week, however, a group has launched a ballot initiative to suspend the Act in the hopes of getting California’s economy “back on track” and “putting Californians to work”.
I recently attended two conferences where the keynote speakers presented viewpoints on China and clean tech that were dramatically different in perspective. At the Sustainable Capital Forum in San Francisco the keynote was delivered by Steve Westly of the Westly Group venture capital firm (Westly is a former Controller of the State of California and eBay executive).
This year’s Davos Forum has an unmistakably more sober feel compared to years past. Overshadowed by the tragic events in Haiti, the theme of this year’s five-day event is appropriately titled: “Improving the State of the World: Rethink, Redesign and Rebuild.” As representatives from business, government and civil society convene here in Switzerland to respond to this challenge, it is important to keep in mind that fixing the global economic system requires more than simply repairing a few roads and bridges; instead we need to think bigger about how to establish the groundwork for tomorrow’s world economy.