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Celebrate AB 32: We May Have Helped on Global Warming Bill
Aug 31, 2006 (From the CalCars-News archive)
This posting originally appeared at CalCars-News, our newsletter of breaking CalCars and plug-in hybrid news. View the original posting here.
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On August 30, California's Governor and legislative leaders reached agreement on final language for Assembly Bill 32 to make California the first state to address greenhouse gases comprehensively. This paves the way for final passage and signature of the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006. Bringing a plug-in hybrid to Sacramento at a critical moment as part of a powerhouse delegation may have helped win the day!

People tell me, "AB 32 gives me hope. So often I feel the problem is too big. This actually does something. And states can be a model for action." In the wake of AB 1493, the bill enacted in 2002 to curb greenhouse gases from cars, and the Northeast Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative that could reduce power-plant CO2 emissions 24 million tons, this bill covering the state's entire economy will reduce them by over 170 million tons.

The campaign for the bill was led by the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Environmental Defense Fund, with Environmental Entrepreneurs founder Bob Epstein devoting most of his life to the effort for well over a year. (In the halls of the Capitol, he can say hi to everyone.)

Two weeks ago, we posted a report­calcars-news/­495.html with details about the legislation and the story of my joining an August 16 Greentech Innovation Network delegation to Sacramento on behalf of the bill. You can see a photo of our group at­globalwarming.html -- the rest of the page needs an update! When I showed a photograph of my PHEV parked a few blocks away, describing it as an example of California innovation, and picked up the electrical "dongle" I carry with me to "show the infrastructure," legislators all day and and press conference attendees perked up.

The media reported that John Doerr of Kleiner
Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB) convincingly
predicted a wave of new clean-energy
technology</a>, saying entrepreneurs "are going
to go out and compete and innovate to bring
enormous solutions to the market" if the bill
became law.­mld/­mercurynews/­news/­politics/­15293770.htm

We were hoping our strategically-timed appearance during final negotiations would counter organized opponents' contentions that business interests were unanimously aligned against the bill. Since then, we heard privately from several sources that our visit made a big difference. And today, front-page lead stories in the San Jose Mercury News and The New York Times confirm that. The Wall Street Journal goes so far as to say that Silicon Valley executives made the difference for the Governor. Excerpts follow (read the the full articles to hear about the final bill).

You can comment on this posting at CalCars' Blog,­blogs/­power/­ab-32-and-silicon-valley

San Jose Mercury News August 31, 2006 Page 1
Warm welcome for clean air bill
By Mike Zapler, MediaNews Sacramento Bureau­mld/­mercurynews/­15405158.htm

SACRAMENTO - Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Democratic leaders endorsed landmark legislation Wednesday that could serve as a national model for combating global warming and, according to Silicon Valley business leaders, spur a wave of clean energy technology.

Opinion within the business community is divided. Some argued that the measure could dramatically increase energy costs, hurting the state's business climate and causing some companies to leave California.

``Being the only state to have absolute caps on carbon emissions puts California at a competitive disadvantage,'' said Allan Zaremberg, president and CEO of the California Chamber of Commerce, predicting the legislation ``will have little impact on global climate change but a severe negative impact on California's economy.''

But business interests in Silicon Valley, including prominent venture capitalist John Doerr and alternative energy company executives, lobbied heavily for the bill. They said it would spur investments in such energy technologies as solar, wind, coal gasification and fuel cells, which can produce energy with low or no emissions of greenhouse gases and other pollutants.

``This is going to make California the center of innovation in the development and application of new clean energy technologies,'' said Rod Beckstrom, chief executive of Palo Alto-based Carbon Investments. ``There is already huge interest in it, but there's no question you're going to see even more money go into the sector.''

The New York Times, Page 1, August 31, 2006 Officials Reach California Deal to Cut Emissions By FELICITY BARRINGER­2006/­08/­31/­washington/­31warming.html

SACRAMENTO, Aug. 30 - California's political leaders announced an agreement on Wednesday that imposes the most sweeping controls on carbon dioxide emissions in the nation, putting the state at the forefront of a broad campaign to curb the man-made causes of climate change despite resistance in Washington.

Business leaders had been divided on the climate-change measure, with leading venture capitalists from Silicon Valley openly stumping for passage, saying the measure will create new industries and new jobs. The state's Chamber of Commerce led the opposition, saying that the measure would prompt an exodus of industry to other states without emission controls, while California would be hamstrung in trying to attract out-of-state businesses.

The Wall Street Journal, August 31, 2006; Page A1 California Pact Would Place Cap On Emissions Anti-Global-Warming Effort Faces Business Opposition; A Split With Washington By JEFFREY BALL and JIM CARLTON­article/­SB115698162043550028.html

One reason Gov. Schwarzenegger ended up agreeing to the bill was that some of California's business community supported it. He began tipping his support toward the bill after a delegation of executives from Silicon Valley last week told him many businesses wanted the bill as a way to provide them regulatory certainty and for other reasons, say lobbyists in the statehouse.

You can comment on this posting at CalCars' Blog,­blogs/­power/­ab-32-and-silicon-valley

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