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Federal cap-and-trade may be non-starter, but AB 32 and WCI kept alive

Tyler Hamilton's picture

Tyler Hamilton is a business columnist for the Toronto Star, Canada's largest daily newspaper. In addition to this Clean Break blog, Tyler writes a weekly column of the same name that...

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With Tea Party-backed Republicans now controlling the U.S. House the already slim chance of getting cap-and-trade legislation over the next two years is now razor thin, but the outcome in California — with Democrat Jerry Brown winning as governor and Dem. Barbara Boxer keeping her senate seat, as well as Proposition 23 being defeated – means climate change legislation in America’s largest economy has been preserved along with California’s participation in the Western Climate Initiative. With California still in, Ontario is likely to stay in, and we could very well see the second-largest carbon trading system in the world (next to Europe) rolling out on schedule in 2012. So while we won’t likely have national cap-and-trade regimes in Canada or the U.S. anytime soon, we’ll have to rely on state/province-led regional initiatives to carry the ball. That, combined with President Obama’s vow to pursue climate/GHG regulation through the Environmental Protection Agency means that not all is lost, though expect much resistance and delay from the Republican-led House.

Here’s a press release just put out by the Environmental Defense Fund to celebrate the projected defeat of Proposition 23:

(Sacramento — November 2, 2010) Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) joins businesses, environmental activists and individuals across the country today in celebrating California’s defeat of Prop 23.
The industry-backed ballot measure would have suspended implementation of the state’s landmark global warming law, AB 32, which EDF cosponsored. Its defeat is a clear win for the climate and clean energy jobs.
“Millions of voters said they see clean energy jobs as the path forward through a tough economic climate,” said EDF President Fred Krupp. “That sends a strong message far beyond California. Voters asked their leaders to chart a future toward clean energy, less pollution, and less dependence on imported oil. Congress should pay attention.”
Supporters of the failed Prop 23 claimed that growing clean energy industries would cost jobs. But Californians — who support AB 32, the most forward-thinking energy policy in America, and who are witnessing job creation in clean energy sectors – rejected that claim. Instead, they embraced the potential for vast economic growth in clean energy markets.
In 2010, the global clean energy market was $10 billion. By 2020, it will reach $80 billion, becoming the world’s third-largest industrial sector. China is spending millions of dollars a day to control its energy future. Last year, China invested more money in renewable energy than the U.S. and is now considered the world’s clean energy powerhouse. 
“If America follows California’s lead, it can be one of the biggest winners in this growing, multi-billion-dollar economy,” said EDF California Climate Initiative Director Derek Walker. “Our energy, economic and environmental future depends on us seizing this opportunity.” 
The measure’s failure shows the tremendous broad and bi-partisan support for a clean environment and a healthy economy.
“The No on Prop 23 campaign brought together an unprecedented bi-partisan coalition which represent the ‘new face’ of our clean energy movement: large and small business leaders, Republicans and Democrats, organized labor, communities of color, public health and environmental groups,” said EDF West Coast Political Director Wade Crowfoot. “These disparate entities recognize that clean energy fuels job growth, cuts pollution and increases our energy independence.”


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