California Proposition 23

Proposition 23 is the result of an initiative launched by Texas oil giants Valero Energy Inc. and Tesoro Corporation to postpone enforcement  of AB 32. The ballot initiative would delay enforcement until unemployment in California stays under 5.5% for an entire year. California unemployment is currently at about 12%.

Image source: Google Public Data

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How do Californians feel about Prop 23?

The public: A poll by the Public Policy Institute of America this month indicates that 67% of California residents support AB 32 (via LA Times).

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger:  “This initiative sponsored by greedy Texas oil companies would cripple California’s fastest-growing economic sector, reverse our renewable energy policy and decimate our environmental progress for the benefit of these oil companies’ profit margins” (via LA Times).

Republican Gubernatorial Candidate Meg Whitman: Whitman has not taken a formal stand on Prop 23. However, AB 32 authorizes a governor to delay some of the provisions for up to a year in the event of “threat of significant economic harm.” While campaigning for the Republican primary, Whitman stated that we would suspend AB 32 on her first day in office (via SF Chronicle).

Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate Jerry Brown: “Addressing  climate change is one of the great challenges of our time, something that California has been a leader on,” said Sterling Clifford, Brown’s campaign spokesman (via SF Chronicle).

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The full text of Prop 23 is available here.

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The Yes on Prop 23 campaign has filed suit against Attorney General Jerry Brown over the language that will go on the ballot to describe the proposition. The ballots of be printed in mid-August will say that the measure “Suspends Air Pollution Control Laws Requiring Major Polluters to Report and Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions That Cause Global Warming Until Unemployment Drops Below Specified Level for Full Year.” More information in the LA Times.

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What’s Next for California Solar?

photo source:

No one seems to dispute that solar technology will play an increasingly important role in transitioning away from fossil fuel dependence. But what is less clear is how solar tech will be deployed, and how fast. Is the market for single-point residential solar really ready to take off, or will it be large-scale solar fields? What can we learn from other countries that have had a longer history of serious solar initiatives (and will the U.S. commit to catching up)?

And although California is leading the charge in residential solar with innovative funding mechanisms like PACE – the Property Assessed Clean Energy model developed in Berkeley and influential in the planning of similar clean energy and efficiency programs around the country- the regulatory landscape under which these programs would operate remains uncertain at best.

This week’s links unearth information on the issues affecting California’s solar future from around the web:

Start with the July 15 broadcast of Forum from KQED Radio. This broadcast is a “Solar Panel”  discussion featuring Danny Kennedy of  Berkeley-based residential solar installation company Sungevity, Eicke Weber, director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems in Germany, U.C. Berkeley Professor and co-director of The Energy Institute, Severin Borenstein, and news reporter Todd Woody.

Next up, visit the California Energy Commission and California Public Utilities Commission’s “Go Solar California” website, urging CA residents to jump on the solar bandwagon.

Think the hot plains of the Mojave Desert are a great place for a giant solar farm? Many people do, but the “empty” desert is still home to ecosystems that need consideration- check out NPR’s coverage on how the plans are shaping up here.

Finally, we here at Zero Resource will be keeping up with the PACE debate, and you can too, by checking out the latest headlines- including the breaking news of Attorney General Jerry Brown’s lawsuit against Freddie Mac and Fannie May over delays to the program:

AG Brown sues feds over slowed solar PACE – San Jose Business Journal

California Sues Federal Mortgage Giants to Save Clean Energy Program – On Earth Magazine

California Sues Fannie, Freddie, Regulator over PACE program – NASDAQ

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