The current high-profile issue in California is regarding the 2006 Global Warming Solutions Act (GWSA), which aims to reduce carbon emissions in the state to the same level as 1990 by 2020. Proposition 23, which will be on the ballot in November, would suspend the GWSA until the unemployment rate in the state is at or under 5.5% for four consecutive quarters. This has only occurred three times in the past thirty years, meaning the GWSA could be suspended for a long time, effectively removing any progress it has made and killing momentum for national climate laws. The ongoing recession and a great deal of support from oil companies outside of California make the passage of Proposition 23 a very real possibility.
Proposition 23 was actually already voted against in November 2010 by CA voters. It was a widely publicized point of contention in the election season, as “big green” went up against “big oil” in one of the state’s most serious debates over its energy future. In the end, voters stood in favor of reducing carbon emissions.
The Global Warming Solutions Act – now resolutely in effect – means new regulations will be enforced by 2012 and by 2020 to reduce pollutant levels being emitted in the state. The regulations will challenge oil refineries, like Valero, to come up with greener alternatives to energy production. While these initiatives may be costly, it appears their sustainability will return long-term benefits.
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