No on Proposition 23

Written by erik


It’s been fascinating to watch the way the national media has picked up on the threat of Proposition 23, on the ballot in California next month. For those not familiar with the proposition, it’s a ballot initiative that proposes to suspend California’s landmark greenhouse gas reduction legislation, AB32, until unemployment in the state hits 5.5% or lower for four consecutive quarters. Judging from California’s current unemployment rate of 12%, this is really about delaying the legislation indefinitely. Tom Friedman does a nice job summarizing the situation in a recent New York Times column.

Here at TerraPass we are hearty advocates for laws reducing our climate impact, as you might imagine, and have gone out of our way to support greenhouse gas reduction projects that align with the Climate Action Reserve standards that are most likely to become qualified carbon offsets under the law. In fact, we’ve been rewarded for our efforts in this department.

For the most part, we stay out of the political world, believing that the threat of climate change is about as bipartisan an issue there is, not to mention multinational. But when it comes to Proposition 23, which by definition is neither a Democratic nor Republican proposal, but rather a measure put to the people of California, we have a recommendation. It’s not hard to guess where we stand.

If you live in California, please vote No on Proposition 23. Don’t let this proposition, largely funded by two Texas oil companies and the Koch brothers, do away with the state’s landmark greenhouse gas abatement law. AB32 puts a price on carbon emissions, making it more expensive to pollute, and giving a big and sustainable advantage to clean energy production. That helps clean tech businesses get off the ground in California, and points the way for other states to follow; it’s good for the economy as well as for the environment. For more information please visit the No on 23 website.

Even if you don’t live in California, but feel strongly about the issue, please help us spread the word. If you have friends, family, or colleagues in California, please forward this blog post, or the Friedman article, or the Stop the Dirty Energy Proposition website. There are 9 different statewide propositions on the ballot this November, which makes for a crowded field of play. Help the people in your network understand the issues, and why they should vote No on Proposition 23.

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  1. John from CA

    You’re completely missing the point.
    AB 32 was enacted before the facts were known and needs to be amended to eliminate the Cap and Trade provision, eliminate the reliance on flawed GHG assumptions, eliminate the unnecessary Fees, corrected to tighten the scope so it doesn’t introduce Environmental Red Tape that will do more damage than good, and make non-governmental agencies like CARB accountable to taxpayers.

  2. Tim

    I am curious about what “facts” that were unknown when AB32 passed that are now relevant, why you object to a trading mechanism (do you prefer a carbon tax?), and what are the “flawed assumptions” regarding greenhouse gases?
    My hunch is, John, that you’re not actually interested in reducing our impact on the climate. Please correct me if I’m wrong, but I would guess that you think GHGs aren’t a problem, that the whole concept of global warming is not real, and that any impact on the economy, no matter how small (whether positive or negative), in the name of environmental protection is not worth pursuing.
    I find little to argue with in the excerpt from the Scoping Plan that you post. Those all seem like reasonable, prudent measures that California needs to undertake to realize a low-carbon future.

  3. Chris Klug

    As a leader in population and productivity in the US, California’s progressive environmental laws have been under attack for decades by dirty business, oil companies and flat-earth types. Here again is an attack to set back progress in the name of greed.
    Biofuels can reduce GHG’s and particulate emissions, but are found to be under attack by the same forces. Please sign the petition at and stand up to economic bullies. Vote against Proposition 23.

  4. REDD

    If human-induced CO2 is not the cause of rise of earth’s average temperature, then the increasing cars (and population) on the road must have used water or solar energy. Otherwise, actions need to be taken to reduce the CO2 and other GHGs.

  5. Geoff

    All of this misses a crucial point: Prop 23 was not placed on the ballot by oil companies, but by the signatures of over 800,000 Californians. We’ll finid out tonight whether they represented a minority or majority of opinion in the state. The fact that the initiative is supported by oil companies with substantial investments in California seems no more relevant to the merits of Prop 23 than the fact that many of those financing the No campaign (Cleantech firms and VCs) have at least as much of a vested financial interest in defeating it.
    It’s appropriate that voters should get to decide whether the benefits of AB32 outweigh its costs, when the state’s economy is in its worst condition in the lifetimes of most Californians. If it is defeated, then that will be a noteworthy expression of support for aggressive action on climate change; if it passes, it will surely reflect concerns about the economy more than rejection of climate science. I note that the state just borrowed $6.7 billion from JP Morgan Chase, to be able to meet its obligations until it can float $10 billion of Revenue Anticipation Notes–the government equivalent of a payday loan. The green jobs at stake in Prop 23 aren’t likely to turn that around any time soon.

  6. Yahnick

    Greed cuts both ways. At least it appears to be the case here:
    I’ve always looked at these issues from the perspective of what can I do for my children now and in the future. While I don’t agree with the idea of waiting for employment to reach 5.5%, Nor is it the time to continue placing a burden on businesses or consumers to pay for yet another program that can’t be supported without increased taxes.
    I know I sound like a downer, but if I also can’t leave some coin for my kids, the rest will be tough to fall in place.

  7. Richmond

    Aah! Once again California puts another nail in it’s coffin. A once great state decaying because of politacal correctness.