The consensus at Friday morning’s forum on AB 32, the California Global
Warming Solutions Act, was that California cannot effect climate change
on its own.
and Supervisor Ron Roberts look on as Michael Murray of Sempra Energy
addresses the crowd. The forum tackled the implementation of AB 32 and
its impact on the economy.
The panelists agreed on little
“If the rest of the world does
not follow us, it will not make a difference,” emphasized
County Supervisor Ron Roberts, a member of the California Air Resources
Murray, Regional Vice President of State Government Affairs for Sempra
Energy, said that AB 32 was intended to be a model of what a national
program would look like since what happens in California typically
“flows east and ends up in Washington several years later.”
Scott Anders, director of the University of San Diego School of Law’s
Energy Policy Initiatives Center, does not see a chance of
comprehensive climate legislation happening anytime soon.
The event was hosted by the San
Diego Taxpayers Association and sponsored by Sempra Energy.
Lewis Michaelson pointed out that AB 32 is ‘the law of the land,” and
asked the panelists to therefore focus on deepening the audience’s
understanding of the bill and the impact it will have.
Rothrock and Bryan Bloom talked about the bill from a business point of
view. Rothrock is the co-chair of the AB 32 Implementation Group, but
said her main job is to represent manufactures in California as the
Vice President of Government Relations for the California Manufacturers
and Technology Association (CMTA). Since energy costs are already
significantly higher in California, Rothrock said CMTA is very
concerned about AB 32 and how it is implemented and that they are
working to minimize its impact on the economy.
Bryan Bloom, president of
Priority Moving, Inc., agreed that businesses
are clearly impacted by the bill.
the only place in the United States that is going to have these rules,
so right away we are at a competitive disadvantage,” Bloom said.
“Anyone who’s ever run a business knows that when you have to pay to
play when other people don’t, that puts you at a competitive
within the state, Bloom said that larger companies like Sempra will
have the money to “play,” while companies like his will not.
from USD’s Energy Policy Initiatives Center, pointed out that many of
the measures have a negative cost and called the fact that they have
not been immediately implemented a market failure. Anders also insisted
that the notion that the bill will affect every small business in
California is just not true.
Rothrock decided to poll the
audience on this.
many folks here believe that if large companies, large employers in
California are competitively disadvantaged that that will impact small
business?” she asked. Nearly everyone in the 120-member crowd raised
their hand. “Yeah…these costs are going to flow through the economy,”
took her point a step further, saying the impact will trickle down to
every single Californian through things like higher fuel prices and
higher costs of building a home.
as a businessman, Bloom said you couldn’t pay him to run a
manufacturing business in California. The first thing he would do is go
to another state, which he said is exactly what’s happening.
states surrounding us love AB 32 because it’s their chance to come in
and put billboards up and pick off companies and take them away,” he
addressed the concern of outsourcing and the effect on small businesses
by pointing out that there will be opportunities through green jobs for
more small businesses in areas like installing solar panels and
“Somebody in India can’t change
your windows,” he pointed out.
acknowledged that there will be great opportunities with AB 32, but
insisted “it’s kind of like saying if you go kill everybody in the
street, there’s going to be great opportunities for morticians.”
Bloom challenged the audience
to go call manufactures after the meeting and ask them what they are
“I guarantee you [the
manufacturer] at the top of that list is leaving California,” he said.
Though there was little, if
any, agreement on how to best affect climate change, Murray summed up
the spirit of the debate.
are many, many stakeholders…and every one of us wants to do it right,”
said Murray. “We understand that if we do it wrong there are
opportunities for serious unintended consequences, and I really believe
that whether you talk to [California Air Resource Board] or any of the
other stakeholders, we all want to get it right and do what’s best for
the stakeholders seem to be waiting for Washington to follow
California’s lead in combating global warming, which moderator Lewis
Michaelson said could be like waiting for Godot.