Arnold Schwarzenegger Defends Climate Change Laws Against Corporate Influences In Election

It's a little surreal to hear a Republican decry corporate interference, but more power to Ahnuld for looking out for what's best for the state instead of what's more profitable for the Koch brothers, et al.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is blasting the backers of an effort to suspend the state's landmark global warming legislation that signed it into law four years ago.

California's global warming law AB32 is a big part of Schwarzenegger's legacy. He is campaigning to stop Proposition 23, the November ballot measure that would suspend AB32.

The governor told the Commonwealth Club audience that oil companies Valero and Tesoro are spending millions to promote Prop 23 with a bogus jobs argument.

"Does anyone really believe that these companies out of the goodness of their black oil hearts are spending millions and millions of dollars to protect jobs?" Schwarzenegger asked.

The governor says California's global warming laws are creating the economy of the future.

"Billions of dollars in green venture capital has come to our state; the bottom line is we are creating action here in this state," he said.

But it's not just deep pocket billionaires trying to meddle in California's climate change legislation. The attorneys general of states like Texas, Alabama and Nebraska have signaled a willingness to sue California to kill the bill.

In the event voters decide to keep AB 32 intact, the attorneys general of at least three states - Texas, Alabama and Nebraska -- say they're ready to sue California to kill it. In effect, the three AGs want to prove it's unconstitutional for a state to decide it won't purchase dirty energy - for example, coal-fired electricity -- from somewhere else. California's voters would be justified defeating Proposition 23 just to send a message to outside agitators to mind their own damn business. After all, California's people and their economy have a lot to lose from climate change, including water shortages, wild fires and sea-level rise along the state's 840 miles of coastline.

For the rest of us, the derailment of AB 32 would be another major loss to the carbon lobby in a year of depressing policy defeats, first in Copenhagen, then in Congress. By default, the world's hope for climate leadership from the United States now rests with state and local governments. Partly as a result of California's example, more than 30 states are implementing or creating their own climate action plans. The Nov. 2 election, including the outcome of Proposition 23, will affect the political climate for climate action well beyond California.


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