California Businesses Urge Governor Jerry Brown to Address Climate Change.
by Susan Frank, Director, California Business Alliance for a Green Economy
A diverse set of 70 California businesses, organizations and associations have joined together to send a letter to California Governor Jerry Brown thanking him for his commitment to addressing climate change and clean energy. At the same time, the signatories urged the Governor to provide a definitive timeline for the state to pay back the $500 million loan borrowed from the auction of ‘cap and trade’ permits to the state’s general fund. The group also called for the rapid initiation of funding for clean energy programs envisioned by the AB 32 investment plan.
AB 32 is the landmark law passed in 2006 which requires reductions in greenhouse gas emissions through a variety of mechanisms from a market-based emission trading program (cap and trade), a Low Carbon Fuel Standard, and other policies.
The letter sent to Governor Brown applauded him for his longstanding leadership on climate change. Lowering carbon emissions is a legacy issue for the Governor – his frequent remarks in public settings about the importance of addressing climate impacts have made headline news around the globe, including on his recent trip to China.
This legacy is juxtaposed by the decision to borrow a half billion dollars of auction proceeds, money that was intended to stimulate growth in the state’s growing clean energy economy as well as benefit communities disproportionately impacted by pollution. Businesses thrive on certainty, and many clean tech and other companies are counting on these funds to further stimulate the economy and continue to drive investments, job creation, and clean energy innovation.
The dozens of businesses and California organizations from a wide array of industries and sectors urged Governor Brown to commit to a swift repayment plan so that the funds can be put to good use, as intended by AB 32.
The Governor himself should recall his own words on the importance of addressing climate impacts: “It doesn’t look like the people who are in charge are going to do what it takes to really slow down this climate change, so we’re going to have to adapt, and adapting is going to be very, very expensive… That’s another reason why we have to maintain some budget discipline.”
My members agree – the state cannot afford to slow down the process of repaying the loan and investing these funds. The delay puts our clean energy economy at risk, and that isn’t good for the business community or the residents of California.