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Prop. 23: Terrorism vs. gas price hikes?

Shultz foto The fight over Proposition 23, a November ballot initiative to suspend California's global warming law, turned ugly this week, with personal attacks and emotionally charged rhetoric on both sides.

In a conference call with news media Thursday, former Secretary of State George Shultz, co-chair of the No on 23 campaign, warned of the danger to national security from dependence on oil imports, noting that part of “this money is undoubtedly slopping over into the hands of terrorists.”

The state's 2006 global warming law would promote a transition from oil to clean energy, he said, adding “We can't let these Texas oil characters take it away from us. So, 'No on 23.'“

Two Texas-based refiners, Valero Energy Corp. and Tesoro Corp., along with Kansas-based oil giant Koch Industries, are primary backers of the proposition, which would delay the law's curbs on carbon dioxide from fossil fuels and other planet-heating emissions until unemployment in the state drops to 5.5% for at least a year. The jobless rate is now over 12%.

Prop. 23 backers shot back with a statement titled “Have they no shame?,” which charged that Shultz, 89, who served as secretary of State in the Reagan administration, “is solidly behind higher gas prices for California's 2.2 million unemployed and those who worry they will be next.”

Shultz responded through a spokesman: “The people attacking me must be desperate. They retreat from honest discourse to malicious misinformation.”

The Prop. 23 campaign also characterized Thomas F. Steyer, Shultz's co-chair on the No campaign, as a “billionaire hedge fund manager (who) talks a good game, but loves his oil profits.” Steyer's $20-billion San Francisco-based fund, Farallon Capital Management, it noted, has investments in oil and gas companies operating in Texas, Louisiana and Oklahoma, as well as in an Indonesian coal company.

Steyer also once owned Valero stock, the statement added, “presumably feeling no guilt about getting those fat dividend checks until divesting himself of that lucrative asset when the company's profits began to decline.”

In an email, Steyer responded, saying, “I don't object to private enterprise or to oil and gas. I simply want them to be fairly and properly regulated…We need to start the process, which will take decades, of moving to independent and clean sources of energy.”

Last week, Steyer had issued a public challenge to Valero CEO William Klesse to debate Prop. 23 and disclose the company's California profits, given that California drivers "have consistently paid the highest prices in the continental United States for gasoline, and refiners have typically enjoyed their highest margins here."

California’s climate change law, also known as AB 32, aims to reduce the state’s greenhouse gases to 1990 levels by the end of the decade. It would require power plants and other industries to cap their emissions and would slash the carbon intensity of gasoline by 10% by 2020, a rule that refiners say would increase their costs and create shortages.

Shultz and Steyer were accompanied on the Thursday call by retired Adm. Dennis McGinn, a former Deputy Chief of Naval Operations who was part of a group of senior military retirees who warned in an influential 2007 report that climate change is a “threat multiplier,” potentially provoking instability in volatile nations vulnerable to sea level rise, floods and drought.

“This effort by Texas oil companies to repeal California’s clean energy law … will clearly threaten national security,” McGinn said. “We continue to send out a billion dollars every day to pay for our oil addiction. Some of that finds its way to the Taliban and Al Qaeda. We are killing our troops with petrodollars.”

Saudi Arabia, a principal sponsor of radical Islamic movements overseas, is the second-largest exporter of oil to the U.S, after Canada. Mexico is in third place, followed by Nigeria and Venezuela and Iraq. 

-- Margot Roosevelt

Photo: In July 2010, George Shultz spoke to the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco about California's  need for climate change legislation. Credit: Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP

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The left conitnues to lie about AB32 being a pollution law. It isn't. It has nothing to do with pollutants. It's a tax on energy that is going to cost EVERYONE more money, and put it into the pockets of greedy government workers. Then the left tries to twist this law into some some of cost savings. Since when has a tax ever saved anyone money? If that was true, businesses would be flocking here by the thousands. They are not. They have been leaving ever since this law was passed. Unemployment continues to rise in California, while it the left tries to put the blinders on everyone.

AB32 is not going to put any dent in CO2 or global warming, whether man made or not. It is just a job killing, expensive symbolic gesture. It should be repealed.

If we would do something SMART (and something George Schultz has been promoting) by implementing feed in tariffs for clean energy produced at point of use (instead of insanely expensive, destructive and GHG-increasing Big Solar and Big Wind in our deserts), the costs to transition to a clean energy economy would be almost nothing, and the benefits enormous.

The recent UCLA/LA Business Council study showed increased cost to non-generating ratepayers of 48 cents/month for the first 10 years, followed by SAVINGS for the remaining 25 years of the solar panel functionality. Generating ratepayers, of course, would be the greater beneficiaries, by investing in something that is good for energy security, reliability, and our health and economy, not to mention saving millions of acres of public wilderness lands from the greedy grip of Chevron Solar, BP Wind and Goldman Sachs/Cogentrix, among others.

The money paid to our friends and neighbors will stay in the communities, as will the installation jobs and property value increases, which means MAIN STREET benefits. Big Solar/Wind profits are all offshored and paid out as dividends and bonuses to completely unrelated people - NO benefits but huge costs to all of us. No wonder people are freaking out, but there is a BETTER WAY - WE CAN OWN THE RENEWABLE REVOLUTION.

There are so many lies out there about the cost of keeping solar within the built environment, it is really shocking. Desert CSP is no cheaper than local (rooftop) PV, and does not produce more power, once transmission is factored in. Local distributed generation is more reliable, cleaner, healthier and more democratic. It improves our property values, creates good local jobs, and encourages conservation. There is simply no downside, despite what the Big Energy companies and their paid greenwashers (I'm lookin' at YOU, NRDC) keep insisting.

Feed in Tariffs are supported by the ENTIRE political spectrum of people looking for clean, affordable energy independence. The conservatives are installing the highest rate of rooftop solar in Germany because IT IS GOOD BUSINESS. Like I said, according to the UCLA/LABC study, within 10 years, we will ALL be saving tons of money if we start this system now! The only "losers" are Big Energy, but haven't we given them enough?

For those who believe in global warming, we will also get much greater and much faster reductions in GHGs from rooftop PV than we can ever get from wilderness-killing remote Big Solar because the construction, manufacturing, transmission and lost sequestration will result in a massive SPIKE in GHG emissions for many years to come.

Feed in tariffs (fair payments to regular people for producing more clean rooftop solar power than they use) are a total win. Who are you going to trust? Chevron or your own roof?

Vote NO on Prop 23. It is yet another attempt by dirty Texas energy and oil companies to rip off California. Does anybody remember the California Energy Crisis of several years ago and the role played by Texas based Enron Corp. Enron ripped us off then shortly thereafter collapsed under the weight of its own greedy bile.

California voters can rein in expensive climate laws like the California Global Warming Solutions Act (A.B. 32) by voting for the Prop. 23 ballot initiative November 2nd. Prop. 23 would suspend implementation of A.B. 32 until the state’s unemployment rate is reduced to below 5.5%. Estimates are that A.B. 32 could cost the state an additional one million job losses with its cap-and –trade system to control greenhouse gases to 1990 levels.
California cannot afford any new eco-fantacies like A.B. 32. VOTE FOR PROP. 23 TO SUSPEND A.B. 32 !

I'd like to see an honest estimate of how much money AB32 will suck out of California's fragile economy.

If we are honestly trying to reduce greenhouse gases, why aren't we discussing nuclear power. Replacing the fossil fuel base load generators with nuclear plants would remove on the order of hundreds of million tons of these gases.

I wish we could argue facts about how the passage or rejection of Prop 23 will affect our economy and environment instead of who is paying for which ads.


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