There’s an unsettling, ongoing effort to dismantle California’s roadmap
to a clean energy future – one that will create uncertainty for
Since AB 32 was passed four years ago, California businesses have been
busily planning and participating in the implementation process by the
Air Resources Board. Many have invested in technology and products to
make their businesses more efficient and reduce pollution.
investments are part of the reason California is home to seven of the
top 10 clean tech businesses in America, and five California cities are
on the top 10 list of the best places for clean-tech businesses in our
But now some of the same forces that tried to scuttle the law in the
first place are using words like "suspend" and "delay" to essentially
kill this momentum. Pulling the rug out from the businesses that
already have planned for the future – and creating an environment of
uncertainty for thousands of the state’s businesses that employ
millions of Californians – will certainly do nothing to improve our
economy and, in fact, would worsen it. Small Business California
believes that, implemented effectively, AB 32 is the right path for
California’s clean technology sector received $2.1 billion in
investment capital in 2009 — 60 percent of the total in North America
and more than five times the investment in our nearest competitor,
Massachusetts. It’s no wonder that the National Venture Capital
Capitalists Association is among the many pro-business groups that
support AB 32 implementation. They know that any move to delay this law
will kill clean technology jobs, innovation, and billions of dollars of
investment in California. That is why hundreds of business leaders and
small businesses across the state support the continued implementation
of AB 32.
According to a report released this week from the state’s Economic
Development Department, there are more than 500,000 clean tech jobs in
California. Most of them are in the manufacturing and construction
sectors, providing opportunities up and down the career ladder. These
high-paying jobs are spread across the state, from large-scale
renewable energy projects underway in the Central Valley and desert
counties to small businesses that dot the suburbs.
Recent economic studies show that the clean job sector is also the
fastest-growing in the state. The number of California green businesses
has increased 45 percent and green jobs expanded by 36 percent from
1995 to 2008, while total jobs in California expanded only 13 percent.
Economist Stephen Levy, Director of the Center for Continuing Study of
the California Economy, recently concluded in a study "it is likely
that the first beneficiaries of green job growth will be workers who
are currently unemployed."
Delaying implementation of AB 32 is a lose-lose-lose for California –
it will cost our state jobs, increase pollution, and drive up energy
costs for small businesses. As the Gulf oil spill has reminded us, we
need to continue California’s leadership in weaning ourselves off oil
and toward a clean energy economy. Slowing down that transition will
only hurt our attempts to recover from the recession.