I just returned from speaking at the Atlantic Monthly’s Green Intelligence Forum 2010 which I told you about earlier this week. In several respects, the Forum presented an interesting contrast to the West Coast events I have attended recently. The crowd of 200+ was comprised mostly of Congressional staffers, Federal agency personnel and a mix of individuals from environmental nonprofits and Washington-based think tanks. The bigger departure was the non-stop discussion of the role politics and policy are playing in sustainability.
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.