From Solar Nation: What happens in California may not stay in California…

From Solar Nation: What happens in California may not stay in California

From Solar Nation: What happens in California may not stay in California

Voters of California won a big one for climate and clean energy on Tuesday when they decisively beat back Big Fossil’s attempt to mold state laws to its liking.  The infamous proposition 23, the attempt by out-of-state oil companies and others to sideline California’s Global Warming Solutions Act, went down to a convincing 61-39 defeat at the ballot box.

This is not just significant, this is HUGE.  In an election cycle in which private corporations – including many foreign companies – shoveled money at candidates who could be counted on to be compliant with their corporate agendas, Golden State voters saw through the misinformation of the prop. 23 campaign and voted accordingly.  And that sent the message to the rest of the country that, in a state where voters understand and care about such issues, polluting industries don’t automatically get their own way.  Not only that, but this is a state where the success or failure of energy and environmental legislation has a way of getting exported to many other states.  That’s how critical this particular battle was.

If their chiropractors are OK with it, Californian voters should twist around and pat themselves on the back for that one.

Prop. 26
The story with that state’s proposition 26 is a little more complex.  Also backed by Big Oil, its passage means that certain environmental fees will be reclassified as taxes, meaning that they will require a two-thirds vote of the legislature to be imposed.  This makes it politically more difficult to, for instance, charge polluters and raise funds for the benefit of clean energy, water and air.  However, a senior Administration official said on Wednesday that this will only apply to laws passed from next year on;  since the threatened Global Warming Solutions Act – AB32 – was passed in 2006, it should not be affected.
Why It Matters
The voting results on prop. 23 matter, and not just for California.  Many of the freshman class of newly elected U.S. Congresspersons are fond of pointing at Democrats’ embrace of green causes as a factor in their poor Election Day showing.  But here are some recent findings from a Kelton Research survey of solar/climate issues:
  • 94% of Americans polled believe it’s important to develop and use solar power;
  • 80% want federal subsidies shifted from fossil fuels to solar;
  • 70-80% want the Government to tackle climate change;
  • 49% would pay more for clean, reliable solar energy.

The implication is that the California ballot initiative results, not to mention the results of many of the statewide and U.S. races in that state, fairly well reflect the mood of the country on these matters.  And that means that the 112th Congress should think very carefully before nullifying the progress made, to this point, on clean energy legislation around the country.

Assuming, of course, they’re paying attention

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