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Those Oil Companies Lied: California's Climate Change Law Will Create Jobs

Just for the record, a new report completely debunks the claims to out-of-state oil companies made to try to kill California's AB 32.


A quick refresher: In 2006, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed Assembly Bill 32 into law. It was a great piece of legislation, requiring California to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, with cutting to begin in 2012. But oil companies, particularly Valero and Tesoro, didn't like the law because greenhouse gas regulations and a thriving clean energy sector would hurt their bottom lines, and they love money more than the natural world.

So last fall, Valero and Tesoro funded a campaign to fool voters into passing Proposition 23, a ballot initiative that would effectively kill AB 32. The entire campaign was designed to play upon citizens' fears about the economy. Sponsors dubbed Proposition 23 the "California Jobs Initiative" and in ridiculous TV ads, scared people into believing that allowing greenhouse gas regulations to go into effect would result in a net loss of 1 million jobs in the state.


Thankfully, Proposition 23 did not pass, which means AB 32 did survive.

But I just wanted to circle back, as they say, and point out for the record that Valero and Tesoro were totally wrong about the effect of AB 32 on jobs.

A new report from UC Berkeley looked at how clean tech and energy efficiency investments associated with AB 32 will actually affect the California employment situation:

The study forecasts about $11.2 billion worth of public and private investments in energy efficiency in California by the year 2020, up from $6.6 billion in 2010. This investment will create about 211,000 jobs in 2020. The jobs — which represent one year of full-time work — will result not just from the direct investment but also from the indirect demand generated by this increase in economic activity. The jobs will be distributed throughout the economy, not just in “green” businesses or occupations.”

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Given that Valero and Tesoro were so concerned about the state of the California economy (even though they're from Texas) I assume they'll now reverse course and totally back AB 32.

Image of Tesoro's hive from Wikimedia Commons

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