It’s Time to take a Fresh Look at AB32

Republican Nominee for Governor of California

Let’s take the time to get it right. As we seek solutions to global climate change, California can’t afford to make the wrong decisions. That’s why I’m calling for a fresh look at AB 32, the state’s far-reaching law designed to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.

Our residents are struggling through the worst recession in decades. More than two million Californians cannot find a job. While I believe many of AB 32’s goals are important, we must carefully review which rules to pursue and make sure those rules spur innovation and help California regain its economic footing.

We cannot afford more rules and regulations that result in unintended consequences and cost us jobs and productivity.

The Wall Street Journal’s editorial page recently agreed that AB 32 needs more careful study: “The impact will make the state even less attractive to start or expand a business.”

Gov. Schwarzenegger and the Legislature had the foresight to include in AB 32 a trigger to postpone implementation of specific regulations when there is “a threat of significant economic harm.” It’s painful to recognize, but we all know California’s economy is in deep distress. More people are out of work in Los Angeles County alone than the entire population of Atlanta.

After I first proposed a one-year moratorium in September, many respected editorial pages, including those at the Orange County Register, San Diego Union-Tribune and The Wall Street Journal, agreed that the possible economic impacts of AB 32 were not fully studied. Even before my proposal, California’s non-partisan Legislative Analyst’s Office reached the same conclusion.

We cannot end up with a program that puts California at a competitive disadvantage, especially now as the federal government weighs new environmental laws.

I believe the right thing to do is to take the time, as provided for in the law, to figure out how AB 32 will impact our economy. Then we can move ahead at a wise and deliberate pace to reduce our greenhouse emissions, without hurting our fragile economy. At the same time, we must support the development and export of clean technologies.

Some critics have twisted the meaning of my call for a moratorium. They claim that I want to ax the measure entirely, and some say I don’t believe California can benefit from the green economy.

Both assertions are false.

I believe we can meet many of AB 32’s goals by boosting our use of renewable energy, reducing our dependence on fossil fuels and removing existing regulatory barriers that are stalling clean-tech projects ready to go now. I am committed to making California the global leader in the use and development of clean technologies.

As Governor, I will propose incentives for businesses and residents to invest in and develop creative and cost-effective ways to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions.

I learned during my 30 years in business that the most productive way to reach big goals is to innovate instead of simply regulate.

My view is that California has long led the way in innovation, from defense, to entertainment, to biotech, to computers and the Internet. It’s part of our DNA and there is no reason we cannot lead in green technology.

If you have a great technology that helps people improve their lives, the chances are good it will thrive. Making sure our state has the economic vitality not just to compete, but to seize the leading role in clean technology, must be our top priority. We’re Californians. We can do this.

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