Mon, Sep 13, 2010 -- 9:00 AM
Mon, Sep 13, 2010 -- 9:00 AM
Download audio (MP3)
As part of our continuing coverage of California ballot measures, we discuss Proposition 23 which would suspend implementation of California's air pollution control law (AB 32) until unemployment drops to 5.5 percent or less for a full year.
Host: Michael Krasny
- Anita Mangels, communications director for Yes on 23
- Craig Miller, senior editor for KQED's Climate Watch
- David Hochschild, vice president of external relations for Solaria
Read a transcript of the program below.
MICHAEL KRASNY: From KQED public radio in San Francisco I'm Michael Krasny. California Assembly Bill 32 is passed in order to reduce levels of State emissions of greenhouse gases but California State Proposition 23 would suspend implementation of 32 until unemployment figures in the state drop to 5.5 percent or less for a full year. Advocates argue that the proposition will save jobs while opponents point to strong backing by big polluting oil and energy companies. We’ll take up the debate next with your calls, e-mails and online questions and comments after this.
MICHAEL KRASNY (CONTINUED): From KQED public radio in San Francisco I'm Michael Krasny. Good morning and welcome to this morning's Forum program. Proposition 23 an initiative on the November California ballot would suspend implementation of AB 32, the air pollution control law. Which was setup to require sources of emission to report and reduce greenhouses gases that cause global warming. AB 32 is specifically aimed at reducing the State's emissions to 1990 levels by the end of the decade and compelling power plants and other industries to cap their emissions and slash carbon intensity of gasoline by 10 percent by the year 2020.
Proposition 23, and this is easy to remember, because you can just invert the assembly bill with the proposition. 32 is the Assembly Bill, Proposition 23 is the proposition. And it would suspend California's pioneering climate change law until unemployment, now over 12 percent, drops to 5.5 percent or less for a full year. This morning's opening for our hour we're going to discuss Prop 23 and with us to sort of, well set the stage for what may be a debate or at least a certainly interested party kind of discussion, Craig Miller is here with us, senior editor of KQED's Climate Watch. His blog is at kqed.org/climatewatch. Good morning, Craig.
CRAIG MILLER: Good morning, Michael.
MICHAEL KRASNY: Well, let's talk about how this got on the ballot first of all. Certainly there's a lot of talk about oil companies and energy companies. Are they mainly behind this?
CRAIG MILLER: The proposition was extensively written by The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association but most of which is based in Los Angeles. But the lion’s share of the funding for it is coming from oil companies mostly with some conservative foundations thrown into the mix as well. And the reason that’s been controversial, the biggest reason it's been controversial, is because the two largest contributors are not based in California. They're oil companies based in Texas. Though it needs to be said that they both have significant operations here.
MICHAEL KRASNY: Tesoro and Valero?
CRAIG MILLER: And Valero, right. Now, to Tesoro's largest refinery is up here on the Carquinez Straight in Martinez staring across the water at a significant Valero refinery. So they have a dog in this fight. There's not much question about that. But there's been a lot about, a lot of controversy about out-of-state companies meddling in California politics and regulations.
MICHAEL KRASNY: The proposition is being advanced though on the basis of jobs being lost pretty much and well addressing that, isn't it?
CRAIG MILLER: That’s the hardest thing to pin down, I think, Michael. You know, there have been reports with projections all over the place. The Legislative Analyst office in Sacramento, non-partisan branch of government, which I tend to trust more than some of the other reports that have come out, have basically said that in the short term there would be some job loss in specific industrial sectors. But that long term, it's really hard to say. And that in any case the effect of AB 32, now I'm talking about not this proposition per se but the climate law, AB 32, that in the long run whatever effect it has, positive or negative, would not be significant compared to the overall immensity of the California economy.
MICHAEL KRASNY: So the advocates of the proposition are saying it's going to do what for the California economy exactly?
CRAIG MILLER: You mean of Prop 23?
MICHAEL KRASNY: Yeah.
CRAIG MILLER: Well, what they're saying is that it would relieve industry of some orneriest regulations and while the economy has a chance to heal, if you will, and prevent what they'd like to call leakage. Which is companies fleeing California for places that wouldn't be subject to the regulations.
MICHAEL KRASNY: They're also saying aren't they that there is enough regulation right now even though Governor Schwarzenegger would like AB 32 to be his legacy perhaps.
CRAIG MILLER: Well, there's always, there are always people saying there's more than enough regulation right now. But the concern among, polling shows that about two-thirds of Californians support AB 32, would like to see it stay in place and certainly the governor. You know, for him this is a big part of his environmental legacy. It is sort of the anchor of California’s leadership role across the nation in fighting climate change.
MICHAEL KRASNY: Well, Carly Fiorina in her debate with Senator Boxer said she did not have a position now. She is in favor of Proposition 23 and Meg Whitman I guess, well where is Meg Whitman on this? It’s kind of puzzling.
CRAIG MILLER: Well, the last thing I heard was on a radio broadcast in Los Angeles where she was being pinned down by the host and she said that in all probability she would vote against Prop 23. But she's also said that on her first day in office she will use the existing provision in AB 32 to suspend regulations under that law for up to a year, which the governor can do.
MICHAEL KRASNY: Tell me though about what effect this would have on so-called, from your perspective, green job growth. Which, again is part of what, certainly Governor Schwarzenegger sees as his legacy. How do you analyze that?
CRAIG MILLER: Well, this is the rallying point for the venture capital community, for the green technology community, for Silicone Valley, which has largely gotten behind AB 32 and against Prop 23. Because they basically feel that the existing climate law in California has been good and in the long run will be good for the economy. It will create more jobs than it harms. And they have some, you know, some compelling numbers to show that in over the last few years the lion's share of venture capital money, for example, being funneled into green technology has been coming to California. And they also want to know, you know, this word certainty gets thrown out a lot, you know, in the business and investment community. For several years now, while these regulations have been formulated and they're not fully implemented and even defined in some cases under AB 32, yet they’ve been saying, look just tell us what the rules are. We just want to know what the rules are so that we can move forward. And it's not knowing that that is, that many businesses find the most troubling.
MICHAEL KRASNY: Again we're talking with Craig Miller, who's here with us in the studio, who is senior editor of KQED's Climate Watch. His blog, again, is at kqed.org/climatewatch. Who’s in favor of Prop 23. You mentioned Silicone Valley. I mean, Google and EBay and PG&E are all in opposition, Sun Power all opposing. Who’s supporting it?
CRAIG MILLER: Well, some of your other guests might be, have more comprehension list than I do. I found that, you know, as a journalist actually one of the challenges in covering this has been finding people who are in support of it. The National Foundation of Independent Business, California Branch is in favor of Prop 23 and has been providing us with spokespeople to talk about how they think it would do harm, how they think AB 32 would do harm if allowed to stand. As I mentioned, Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association but a lot of the other interests, California Trucking Association, I think, but a lot of the other interests are energy related.
MICHAEL KRASNY: Craig, thank you so much for being with us.
CRAIG MILLER: Sure, Michael.
MICHAEL KRASNY: Let me tell you who is with us for the rest of the hour. Here in studio, Anita Mangels is actually head of Yes on 23 as communications director head, I should say and good morning, Anita Mangels.
ANITA MANGELS: Good morning.
MICHAEL KRASNY: And David Hochschild is Vice President of External Relations with Solaria. They’re a solar panel manufacturer down in Fremont. Welcome, David Hochschild.
DAVID HOCHSCHILD: Good morning.
MICHAEL KRASNY: Last time you were was when your father was being interviewed by me and you called in as 10-year-old.
DAVID HOCHSCHILD: That's true, I did.
MICHAEL KRASNY: There's part of that on the record, yeah. I'm glad to have you here. Anita Mangels, so who's supporting Prop 23?
ANITA MANGELS: Well, let's start with some business groups, the Black Business Association, the California Hispanic Chambers of Commerce, California Small Business Alliance, California Small Business Association, California Manufacturing and Technology Association, just to name a few. Craig already mentioned the National Federation of Independent Business California. These folks represent hundreds of thousands of employers and hundreds of thousands of California jobs.
ANITA MANGELS (CONTINUED): We're also very proud to have the support of the California State Firefighters Association, the Los Angeles Police Protective League, the Boiler Maker's Union, the California Pipe Trades Association and over 300 local elected officials, local organizations. All of whom share the belief that while we need to do something about global warming, implementing AB 32, the state's global warming law, at this point in time would be an economic disaster for the country. You know, when AB 32 was adopted by the legislature we only had 4.8 percent unemployment. You know, capital was easy to come by and we were riding the crest of an economic boom. We could not have foreseen that four years later we'd have almost 2.3 million people out of work and that California would be leading the country in lost jobs, home foreclosures, debt and business closures.
So everybody else has had to adjust to the changing economic landscape and all we're saying is that before we pile on additional energy cost increases and destroy over a million jobs, maybe we just need to put it on hold until the unemployment situation improves and California’s economy is in a better place to move ahead with this and sustain those costs.
MICHAEL KRASNY: Is it realistic though to talk about unemployment, which is now at 12 percent getting down to 5.5 percent? I mean, that may be sort of literally an impossible dream almost at this point.
ANITA MANGELS: Yeah, California’s economy runs in cycles, always has, always will as the global economy does and it would be a nice problem to have wouldn't it?
MICHAEL KRASNY: Oh indeed it would. But you, sort of as Craig Miller talks about this, you got two-thirds of Californian’s supposedly, not withstanding all the support you mentioned, in favor of fighting global warming with AB 32. You've got an uphill battle here convincing the California electorate that this just isn't something that the Texas oil and energy people who are supplying a lot of the revenue are in favor of.
ANITA MANGELS: Well, again, you know, if you ask people, do you want to do something about global warming, they'll say sure. If you tell them it's going to cost them another 50 cents plus for a gallon of gasoline they may have a different answer. If you ask them, gee and what would you say if it's going to make your electricity rate go up by 60 percent, which the Southern California Public Power Authority has said could happen. If it's going to make gas prices go up by almost 4 billion dollars a year, which a recent study has shown, I would think you will see a much different answer. So the question becomes not should we do something, we all agree that we should, but when should we do it, what should we do, how much should we spend and oh, by the way, since the California Air Resources Board has said that California acting alone can't do anything to reduce global warming, do we really want to charge ahead while other states, the federal government and other nations have dramatically scaled back their climate change policies to protect their economies. Maybe we need to be considering the same thing and that's what Yes on 23 is about.
MICHAEL KRASNY: Well, you also mentioned support from a lot of business organizations. Those who are opposed are saying that people of color and low income are going to be hit hardest because the prices of gasoline are going to simply go up. So the unemployed will have to suffer through higher costs at the pump.
ANITA MANGELS: Well, the co-chair of the No on 23 campaign has said that's the whole idea. They want to increase the price of gasoline so people will use less. As a matter of fact, the Air Resources Board and many others who happen to be in favor of moving ahead right now with the state's global warming law, have said this is going to hurt low income communities and small businesses very hard and part of their major planning challenge is what do we do with all of these people who are going to lose their jobs or can't keep the lights on. The Air Resources Board has an economical allocation advisory committee that actually has recommended a carbon tax of about a 143 billion dollars on the conservative side and a big chunk of that would go to quote, unquote, worker transition assistance programs to help people who have lost their jobs as a result of implementing this law at this time.
MICHAEL KRASNY: We should mention that Craig Miller cited or mentioned the million jobs that you cited as being from the widely discredited Sacramento State Study.
ANITA MANGELS: Well, folks who don't like what it says say it's discrediting. However, I can tell you that UC Berkeley, which is a great fan of immediate implementation. Their laborer research group did a study that showed that about 3 million, good paying, blue collar union jobs, largely filled by males, Hispanics, and folks with less than higher education would definitely be at risk and they don't like us saying this because they do believe that it's a good thing to go ahead, you know, on the current timetable. But they have said in the same breath, you know, the number the sheer number of jobs that are at stake in these impacted industries dwarfs the number of new green jobs that we can expect. Therefore we need to plan on what we're going to do to help these 3 million people that are at risk and as Jim Kellogg said, one of the union guys said in the Chron over the weekend, you know, if you're one of those 3 million people who depend on that paycheck to feed your family, get the benefits like healthcare that you need, you need to be running, not walking, to vote yes on 23 to protect those jobs. Because they're not all just going to magically be replaced by new green jobs.
MICHAEL KRASNY: Anita Mangels is communications director Yes on 23 and David Hochschild is Vice President of External Relations for Solaria. Well, we're talking about job protection here, David Hochschild?
DAVID HOCHSCHILD: Well, first of all before I address what Anita raised I'd like to address what she didn't. Which is the degree of funding from the oil industry really needs to be understood here. We're not just talking about oil industry's support for this. 97 percent of the funding behind Prop 23 is from the oil industry. 89 percent from out of state. The two leading donors, Valero and Tesoro corporations are known as the toxic twins in the California because they are two of the ten worst polluters in the state. And I think it's really important to look at why are these guys doing what they're doing. Since 2000, they have earned 10 billion dollars in net operating profits from California. They have a lot of money that they make from the status quo and the status quo today is bad for California. We import 62 percent of the oil we consume in California. In the case of natural gas, which is the largest fuel source for electricity in the State, we import 87 percent. These guys profit from the status quo. That's why they're doing what they're doing. With respect to the...
MICHAEL KRASNY: Let me just ask, go back to jobs in a moment but since you brought up the money coming from Texas, there's an argument by former Secretary of State George Schultz, who is one of the leaders in opposition to Prop 23, who says it will effect national security. That by not fighting climate change, we're going to be making ourselves increasingly dependent upon foreign oil.
DAVID HOCHSCHILD: I think that's absolutely right. Does anybody honestly think we would've invaded Iraq if we didn't depend on oil from Saudi Arabia and that region. We are dependent on sources of fuel, not just outside California but outside the country and the cost of that status quo is harmful. But, you know, with respect to the jobs question, I just want to address that directly. I actually have the UC Berkeley job study with me and that's not at all what it says, that there'll be 3 million job losses. In fact, uh, it sites a job came from the clean tech sector and I can give an example of this. Our company, Solaria, we're a solar panel manufacturer in Fremont, we're opening a new manufacturing facility next month. We raise 65 million dollars this summer to expand our production and that is a consequence of the policy environment in California, which is set our state on a compass heading towards more clean job growth.
DAVID HOCHSCHILD (CONTINUED): And I just want to say, you know, the clean tech sector has raised since the climate and clean air law was passed in 2006, 10 billion dollars in investment into California. That represents 60 percent of the total clean tech investment in North American and 2.1 billion of that came into our state just last year in 2009 in the middle of the recession when we needed it the most. This is not the time to turn off the facet for that capital because if you look around and ask what are the sources of economic growth going forward in California? You know, is going to be housing or retail, no, clean tech, the whole clean tech enterprise really represents that promise. The job growth is 10 times faster in the clean tech sector than the rest of the economy.
MICHAEL KRASNY: How are we blaming AB 32 for job loss when it doesn't even go into effect until 2011?
DAVID HOCHSCHILD: That's an excellent question.
ANITA MANGELS: And how are you blaming it for, or crediting it for job creation when it hasn't even gone into effect yet? I mean, you know, those dollars...
DAVID HOCHSCHILD: (overlapping) Well, now that's a different question.
ANITA MANGELS: …are coming in.
DAVID HOCHSCHILD: That's a different question, I'll tell you why. We had investors this summer who gave us 65 million dollars to do this. They specifically cited this legislation, AB 32, as a reason for investing. They're looking at the long-term market certainty and that's why the money's being invested.
ANITA MANGELS: So they're assuming that the government will create a market for them by killing your competition, making it's products more expensive and subsidizing jobs where, you know, in other countries where they've done this, they’ve found that for, for example, gosh, in Italy one green job costs 4.8 conventional jobs. In Spain, they found that one green job costs 2.2 conventional jobs. You know, there is no free lunch and unfortunately, that's what, you know, Prop 23 is about. We want to make sure that the folks that are saying, oh great I've got 65 million to invest. A lot of us would like to have that problem. Unfortunately, more of us are worried about paying the rent and keeping the lights on and these guys are coming in and saying well, you know, what's not to like about this?
ANITA MANGELS (CONTINUED): The government will make a market for us, it will, you know, put our competition at a disadvantage and, you know, we can headquarter here but then not in the case of your company necessarily, David, but, you know, the vast majority of solar panels, wind turbines, they're being manufactured not in California with all the subsidies and all the hype about AB 32 they're going to China. The stimulus plan that the feds touted so much about creating green jobs turns out that about 90 percent of those billions of dollars went to foreign companies. That’s where the jobs have gone.
DAVID HOCHSCHILD: You know, with respect, I think that is a defeatist attitude and it's not borne out by the history of our state. If you look back, for example, to energy efficiency standards adopted in the 1970's where California was way out ahead of the rest of the nation and we still are in terms of energy efficiency. We have saved 56 billion dollars since the energy efficiency standards went into place. Where we lead the country in energy efficiency and we're going to save another 23 billion in the next five years. The same thing holds true for catalectic converters, where we'd heard the same arguments from the auto industry is that this would kill the industry, kill jobs. In fact, we passed that in California, it got spread to the rest of the country. Same thing with unleaded gasoline and same thing with the tailpipe standards the state adopted in 2002, which thanks to President Obama, have been adopted nationwide. I, you know, never bet against California's ingenuity. We can do it, we've shown that in the past and, you know, going forward this is the future of the state.
MICHAEL KRASNY: Okay, David Hochschild is Vice President of External Relations with Solaria. I guess Anita Mangels, from the perspective of a lot of Californians when they hear names like Tesoro and Valero, two of California's worst polluters making profits potentially by cutting corners like BP did, it raises all kinds of alarms and we ought to mention also because I think it's important, Kansas based Koch Institutes, which is an oil giant, is also a big backer and the owner of that says climate change doesn't exist. Um, he's a liberation, he's certainly entitled to his opinion but you see that kind of backing for the large part of the revenue and California has become skeptical of what 23 is really all about.
ANITA MANGELS: No, I think it's a brilliant political ploy on the part of opponents of Yes on 23 who would like to see us spend billions of dollars in higher energy costs that will largely go to the venture capitalists that are backing their position. The fact of the matter is, the two companies that you mentioned, Valero and Tesoro, they operate in compliance with the strictest environmental laws on the planet here in California. Interestingly enough, a Superior Court judge actually said it was misleading to characterize them as “polluters” because they are operating in compliance with every environmental law that is already in effect in California and they're doing so legally.
MICHAEL KRASNY: So is this kind of the oil companies against the alternative...
ANITA MANGELS: (overlapping) No, no, actually...
MICHAEL KRASNY: ...energy companies?
ANITA MANGELS: ...you know, I've got something interesting here. You know, Valero and Tesoro, again, you know, we're proud to have them as backers. They're California employers, as are many of the other folks who support Prop 23. Interestingly enough, the co-chair of the No on 23 campaign, Tom Styer, is a billionaire hedge-fund manager and up until quite recently he had lots and lots of money for his investors. Presumably, because they like green, in the case of money, heavily invested in Valero and Tesoro. They're still invested in companies that are heavily involved and invested in offshore drilling off the coast of Louisiana in the Gulf of Mexico, including deepwater operations. They have been there heavily invested in the second largest coal company in Indonesia. Yet, they're standing out there saying, no, you know, got to go after those oil companies.
MICHAEL KRASNY: Let me make my pronunciations clear, it's the Coke industry, not the Koch industry. That may be confusing with the drink but and it's Hochschild not, I know I said Hocksfield. I used to mispronounce your father's name for years I think. That's why, and, and it's still, uh, it's still bugging me but, David, let's also talk about, another concern has come up from those of you who are in opposition and that is, well you've got the Lung Association talking about air pollution increasing and the possibility of more asthmatic problems and more, well more seniors going to the emergency room. I mean, they see this as a real factor as a result what would occur with 23.
DAVID HOCHSCHILD: That's absolutely right. My wife is actually a public health doctor and has treated a lot of folks for asthma, related air pollution issues in her career and, you know, fossil fuels are bad for public health, that we know. And I just got back from a trip to China actually where I could not see blue skies for two weeks, the air pollution is so bad. We have got to change course. I would, you know, I think the public health threat is well understood. What we forget sometimes, there's actually also a public safety threat. Just the extraction and transportation of fossil fuels themselves are quite dangerous. And if you look at just what's happened in the last six months in our country from the oilrig in the Gulf of Mexico, 11 people killed, 17 injured. The coal mine collapse in West Virginia, 29 people killed and of course last week, here, right here in the Bay Area, the natural gas explosion with, uh, four dead and five still missing, you know, you can't help but come to the conclusion that this is a dangerous industry. Quite apart from the public health threat and the threat to our climate environment long term.
MICHAEL KRASNY: Now let me do this, because we're coming up on a break. Let me invite those of you listening to join this conversation. I know there are some strong feelings about this subject and Prop 23 and you can certainly air them here. Any questions or comments you have, any pro or con thoughts about the measure, please feel free to join us. We're talking about in our continuing election coverage, 23, which again would suspend implementation of California’s air pollution law, AB 32, until unemployment drops to 5.5 percent or less for a full year. We spoke with Craig Miller, senior editor of KQED's Climate Watch and we'll continue with Anita Mangels who is communications director for Yes on 23 and David Hochschild, who is Vice President of External Relations with Solaria. Join us now, toll free 866-733-6786, that's 866-733-6786 or send an e-mail to Forum at kqed.org.
MICHAEL KRASNY (CONTINUED): This is Forum. I'm Michael Krasny with our ongoing coverage of California ballot measures and election coverage. We're discussing Prop 23, a State proposition this morning, which would suspend implementing California's air pollution control law, Assembly Bill 32 until unemployment in the State drops to 5.5 percent or less for a full year. We spoke with Craig Miller, Senior Editor of KQED's Climate Watch. His blog again is a kqed.org/climatewatch. And with us for the hour our Anita Mangels who is head of Yes on 23's communications department. She's Communications Director and David Hochschild who is Vice President of External Relations with Solaria. They're a solar panel manufacturer in Fremont. You're welcome to join the program, uh, when a line becomes available. Our toll free number is 866-733-6786. You can also send an e-mail to us email@example.com and you can post a question or comment on our website by going to kqed.org/forum and clicking on this segment. I'm going to your calls and your e-mails and, and postings here forthwith.
But, uh, uh, we went to the break and, uh, David Hochschild was talking about public health and the threat and dangers of public health. And, uh, Anita Mangels I think you wanted to address that.
ANITA MANGELS: Yes, I would, thanks, uh, very much Michael. You know, uh, one of the things that is so, stands out more than anything else in this argument about whether or not the timing of AB 32 is right. Is that the folks who oppose Prop 23 will never talk about global warming. AB 32 is the California Global Warming Solution Act. It was drafted because we have laws that already are the strictest in the country that govern the pollutants that do cause public health problems such as asthma, respiratory ailments and heart and lung disease. Those are already regulated very, very strictly and will continue to be so no matter what happens with the timing of AB 32. Um, matter of fact the, uh, Air Resources Board itself and its health impacts analysis has said that greenhouse gas emissions, which are what are being targeted by AB 32, nothing else. Um, you know, have absolutely no direct impacts on public health.
ANITA MANGELS (CONTINUED): So, you know, again it's a distraction from the fact that we've got a global warming law that the Air Resources Board says will do nothing to reduce global warming. And they want to talk about everything but that. Let me give some examples of real air pollution laws that exist already. That will be completely intact and probably get even tighter as the years go by, regardless of the timing of AB 32. We've the tail pipe emissions standards that David was talking about. The, uh, California Solar Initiative. 3.3 billion dollars already have gone to solar outside of AB 32. Zero Emission Vehicle Program, the electric cars. The Cleaning Building standards. The Sustainable Community standards. All of these will already are in effect and will remain in effect. Matter of fact, the Legislative Analyst has said that fully more than half of all the greenhouse gas reductions included in the blueprint for implementing AB 32 would remain in effect even under Prop 23.
MICHAEL KRASNY: Still might get sued by North Dakota, though. I mean is that in the works?
ANITA MANGELS: (overlapping) That has nothing to do with us. You can't pin that on us.
MICHAEL KRASNY: There's a whole other topic in itself. But it's because of the fact that they see this, uh, the, well the suspension of AB 32 as a direct threat.
ANITA MANGELS: (overlapping) But if I may really quickly.
MICHAEL KRASNY: Yeah.
ANITA MANGELS: One other thing. You know, as far as the public safety aspects go, the California State Firefighters Association is very, very firm on this. And the Legislative Analyst agrees. That Yes on 23 will cut costs for local governments. And it will increase their revenues by avoiding these massive energy price hikes. And that's good news for Firefighters and other public safety personnel like the Los Angeles Police Protective League, who also support Yes on 23, because right now their budgets are so strained that they've been cutting back, or jacking up their response times. So they can't get to the fires to put them out where they could still save the property. One of the things the President of the Firefighters Association has said is that, you know, their, their environmentalists by nature. They are there to protect not only homes and property but also wildlife habitat, forests and park lands. And there point was, hey if we can't get to a fire quick enough to put it out, whether it's a fire in open space or it's a fire in a heavily populated community, the pollution that's going to happen from that smoke is going to be a heck of a lot more deadly than the greenhouse gas emissions that even CARB has said, we can't reduce enough to make a difference in global warming.
MICHAEL KRASNY: Yeah. You raised certainly a number of salient points. I want to hear what David Hochschild has to say in response. Let's begin with the fact that, 'cause we want to get to our callers here as well. But we do have pretty strong legislation and Air Resources Board kind of enforcement where air pollution is concerned.
DAVID HOCHSCHILD: That's absolutely true. But the suggestion that somehow the air pollution, you know, crisis we face is, is fixed because of existing legislation that's in place, is just not true. Uh, we have, you know, anyone in Hunters Point, a Bay View neighborhood here in San Francisco can tell you that pollution, um, from the Peaker Power Plants is a huge issue. Uh, the smog in L.A., uh, and the Central Valley, of course, is responsible for enormous health problems. And the reality is that every time you are cutting global warming emission through power plants and so forth, um, you are also reducing, um, the emissions that are harmful to human health. That's a fact. And, uh, that's beyond dispute actually. And so somehow the suggestion that we've solved the problem, um, you know, it's not borne out by the facts. And on questions of public health related to air quality, I think it's important to defer to groups like the American Lung Association, the California Nurses Association.
MICHAEL KRASNY: And not the Firefighters?
DAVID HOCHSCHILD: And they have weighed in decisively, uh, against Proposition 23.
MICHAEL KRASNY: But Anita mentions the Firefighters and the possibility of smoke inhalation and fires becoming more rampant as a result, and more revenue to the cities.
DAVID HOCHSCHILD: Well, I was a fire fighter myself in a volunteer Fire Department for four years, um, and Fire Departments I think focus on fighting fires. If we're talking about public health here, I think you need to focus and listen to the groups that focus on public health.
MICHAEL KRASNY: Well, let's listen to what our listeners have to say. And Kathy, we'll begin with you. You're are first caller. Good morning.
KATHY: Good morning. Thank you so very much. I live in Lafayette, California. Let me say this about, uh, the existing law and this proposition to suspend it. I as an individual in California totally support suspending this law. In reality, despite what your caller says, I'm not going to defer to any group tell me that I'm going to have to suffer a tax, which is essentially pushed down to the poor and the middle class, because of some cockamamie idea about more legislation on top of existing legislation. And the point I want to make here is nobody is talking about those who are going to profit off of the carbon tax exchange industry, that has been burgeoning ever since Al Gore started his, uh, hockey stick analysis about what's going on with our climate. I'll take my answer on the air.
MICHAEL KRASNY: Alright, I think it's to you Davie Hochschild.
DAVID HOCHSCHILD: Well, I think it's a, it's a good question. The reality is, you know, we're already paying a very high tax in our dependency on, uh, fossil fuel today. Because so much of the money, as I said, 62 percent of the money California spends on petroleum today on oil is sent out of State. That is a cost to us. And when saw last summer gas prices spike, uh, up to $4 and $5 a gallon. We are paying that price because we're so dependent on these fuels that import from out of state.
MICHAEL KRASNY: There's another listener, David Hochschild, I'd be interested in what you have to say to her. This is Faye who describes herself as an office worker. And she says, do green jobs always equate to manual labor? Everyone can't do construction work. Solar panels weigh 60 pounds and up and require crawling rooftops to install them. Is this the kind of work being promised as job creation? In fact, there's a glut of solar installers and many are unemployed. I'm very disappointed when I hear new legislation that just increases the cost to live and just get by. I've been unemployed for eight months and all this green job talk sounds like empty headed pie in the sky. I'm not drinking the Koolaid this time.
DAVID HOCHSCHILD: Well, in fact there are, uh, a lot of, um, white collar gut jobs that get created as you grow a clean tech economy. In our case, with our company, um, you know, we've hired a number of, um, Ph.D.'s and engineers to develop the technology. We're expanding that workforce, um, and that is a trend we're seeing around the Bay area. Um, you know, one exciting thing that is happening because of, um, the policies in place in California to promote, um, green energy is we've seen, uh, really, uh, a title wave of innovation in the last three years. Um, that's leading to lower cost energy solutions. We're seeing, you know, the price of a solar panel for example went down by almost 50 percent last year. And it's going down further as we, uh, you know, press forward with innovation. And those kind of, um, innovations rely on, um, a very educated workforce in addition to, um, the folks who are going to have to, um, you know, be doing all the installation and manual labor.
MICHAEL KRASNY: And Anita Mangels, let me go to some more e-mails. Uh, here's a listener named Jim who says, implementation of AB 32 is not simply a matter of green energy and green jobs. The law provides a catalyst for shifting Californians towards less polluting forms of transportation. And John writes. Wasn't Prop 23, uh, won't Prop 23 give companies an incentive to maintain high levels of unemployment? As soon as unemployment drops below 5.5 percent oil companies will lose their tax regulatory, their lax regulations. And if it passes then it will be in their interests to send jobs out of California or not to hire workers at all.
ANITA MANGELS: Oh golly. You know, uh, first of all. Let's go back to what the law that it is targeted here is about. It is about reducing greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming. Everything else is already heavily, heavily regulated. Including energy companies not just the, the petroleum industry but public utilities, those that do electricity, etc. Matter of fact, um, PG&E, under the carbon tax that CARB is contemplating we'll be passing along about 376 million dollars to their customers in carbon fees alone before this is all over. Uh, the fact of the matter is that, you know, we are looking at a law meant to reduce global warming that does absolutely nothing to reduce global warming. While people cannot afford to keep the lights on. While 2.3 million people are unemployed. While we have a State budget deficit of 20 billion dollars that is not going anywhere anytime soon. And other countries and states are all scaling back. Not abandoning them and this is important. We're keeping all of the existing air quality and environmental regulations that already there in place.
ANITA MANGELS (CONTINUED): And all we're saying is that, right now is not the time to spend billions of dollars and risk over a million jobs for a global warming law that will do absolutely nothing to reduce global warming. Common sense.
MICHAEL KRASNY: Well, here's the perception of another listener who writes. How many jobs could the Prop 23 folks create if they use their oil money for that purpose instead of undermining our environmental laws. It is seen by some as an undermining, but let me go to more of our callers. And Michael, join us. You're on the air.
MICHAEL: Hi. Um, I was just calling, uh, and this relates to something that the, uh, representative from the Yes on Prop 23 and just said. My question is that the, any fees that are, or costs that are created by the bill or by, by AB 32 will be passed straight through to consumers in their gas prices. And, you know, I'm curious whether the oil companies really do have a dog in this fight. Or this is about a larger issue really. The issue of California setting an example for the United States as a whole. You know, historically as is mentioned by the Solaria rep. Um, in terms of new innovative, um, environmental regulation. Is this really about a concern that AB 32 might be successful. Uh, and that might create a precedent that's important for federal legislation. I'll take my answer off the air.
MICHAEL KRASNY: Okay. Uh, there has been, you know, some concern about, uh, the inefficacy of Copenhagen and, um, you know, getting, well other countries as well as other states on board. And AB 32 was seen as a model for what can be done elsewhere. The caller raises I think a salient question. That is, how much of a threat could this be from going viral as the oil companies see things.
ANITA MANGELS: First of all, again, you know, we're talking about supporters which include the California Hispanic Chambers of Commerce, the Black Business Association. The California State Firefighters Association. Uh, you know, many, many, many California organizations representing literally hundreds of thousands of employers and jobs right here in California. Truly believe that now is not the time to increase energy costs by billions of dollars and destroy over a million jobs in pursuit of a rule that quite frankly nobody else has gone so far on, as has California. And they're scaling back to protect their economies. You know, we already have 3.3 billion dollars in subsidies for solar alone under the California Solar Initiative. Uh, we have got many other places. We're the only place, you know, literally on the planet with as aggressive as this. And what I hear a lot from folks who are opposing Prop 23 is that, well, we have to be competitive. We have to have this law. You know, the fact of the matter is that Texas already is leading the United States in wind power.
ANITA MANGELS (CONTINUED): Iowa is second in wind power. You know, these jobs are not coming here because frankly it's too expensive. You know, we're going to have a model where the venture capitalists who are bankrolling No on 23 we'll headquarter in Palo Alto or Silicone Valley. And they will get the subsidies. They will clip their coupons. The jobs and the facilities will be in China where as David said, you can't see the sun for the smog. And they're opening up new coal fired plants just about every day of the week. And bringing in pipelines from Russia to bring in more fuel. More fossil fuel.
MICHAEL KRASNY: And we're not exactly getting more...
ANITA MANGELS: ...to sell us back...
MICHAEL KRASNY: ...cooperation from the...
ANITA MANGELS: ...solar panels that will say, designed in California, made in China. Put them on tanker ships, send them back with an enormous carbon footprint to sell to us here in California where the only market will be a highly subsidized government market. If it's such a good thing, and I know David, your company is attracting investment. And I'm very pleased for you. That's the way it should be. We need to have viable technologies that will work on their merits, not because there is a fantasy that we can change the world overnight.
MICHAEL KRASNY: Let's hear a response from David Hochschild.
DAVID HOCHSCHILD: Well, I think the caller hit it right on the head. Uh, the Yes on 23 campaign talks about jobs. But what they really care about is oil company profits. And just on the jobs question. Is it important to know that groups like the California Labor Federation which represents over 2 million workers in construction, manufacturing and retail. You know, the largest single, um, group representatives, workers in California you'd think they'd be the folks most interested in job reduction. They're opposed to Prop 23. As is, you know, the Silicone Valley Leadership Group representing over 300 of the biggest companies in California. Um, looking again at the list of donors, I think it's really indicative of, um, what's really at stake here. 'Cause it's not just to Tesoro and Valero corporations. Although they're the biggest. But the National Petroleum Association, World Oil Corporation, Boyette Petroleum, Robinson Oil, Berry Petroleum, Southern Counties Oil. And I would encourage folks, um, to go look at the Secretary of State's website for yourselves.
DAVID HOCHSCHILD (CONTINUED): And see who's funding 97 percent of this campaign. I think that tells you what's really motivating them.
MICHAEL KRASNY: Alright. Let me go to more callers. And, uh, Jeff you're next. Good morning, welcome to Forum.
JEFF: Yes, good morning. Uh, my question, excuse me. Uh, we're not really addressing the issue of Prop 23 right now. The Prop 23 is, is all formulating on unemployment rate that I don't know has been researched or is getting made public how often the unemployment rate has reached that low point in California. But that's what this whole proposition is based on. And so I'd like that, that your guests to comment on the unemployment rate and how it was picked for this particular controversial.
MICHAEL KRASNY: Yeah. David Hochschild.
DAVID HOCHSCHILD: Well, um, that's a great point. And in fact this is a repeal masquerading as a suspension. That's what's happening here. The, uh, scenario that's described in the proposition 5.5 percent unemployment for four consecutive quarters has happened only three times in the last 34 years, since they started keeping those records. It's clearly a guise in which, um, the oil industry can achieve, uh, repealing California's, um, Clean Air and Climate Law while appearing to make it look like only a temporary suspension.
MICHAEL KRASNY: Anita Mangels.
ANITA MANGELS: Yeah, actually that's not true. If you go to the California Employment Development Department website you will see that in the last decade alone the threshold of 5.5 percent or lower for four consecutive calendar quarters has been met ten times. That is a matter of record. Again, you know, the folks who would like to see us spend billions of dollars to subsidize the folks frankly that are bankrolling the other side of the campaign. Which is why I would prefer to talk about what the issue is. Not as to who is on other side.
DAVID HOCHSCHILD: If I could just let's, let's try to...
ANITA MANGELS: (overlapping) No, no, no, no.
DAVID HOCHSCHILD: Get on the same page about the facts. Because...
ANITA MANGELS: (overlapping) No, the facts are EDD has it on record and others have chosen to interpret it differently. But the facts do not lie. They are right there.
MICHAEL KRASNY: I think you have different facts here. Is what I am getting from...
DAVID HOCHSCHILD: (overlapping) No, the issue is, is 5.5 percent unemployment sustained for the entire quarter. Right. Which is this. And if you read the legislation there will absolutely be, uh, a lawsuit I'm sure, by the oil industry if they were to, you know, some are try to interpret the, the, uh, laws...
ANITA MANGELS: Or by the NRDC if they feel that we're not interpreting it correctly.
DAVID HOCHSCHILD: No, but it is a fact that only three times in the last 34 years have been there four consecutive quarters of sustained unemployment below 5.5 percent.
ANITA MANGELS: That is patently untrue. And I would suggest that after this is over, we sit down and go to the website together. Because I would bet my house on this with you David.
MICHAEL KRASNY: Wow, you got the deed in your hand here. Let me go to more of your calls in the meantime. We've got a Nevada caller Gary who wants to join us. Welcome Gary.
GARY: Yeah. I would like to touch on the environmental side. And I am one of the, what people aren't around, I am a ticked off Democrat who just can't wait to vote. And I'm going to bench 23. For the environmental reasons. A long hard... the global warming is having an absolutely devastating effect. We are losing species. We are losing birds. We are losing marine mammals. There is nothing that anyone can say or do to dissuade any of the facts that have been recorded out the... (technical)
MICHAEL KRASNY: And Gary you keep cutting out here for some reason. But I think we get of the gist of what you're saying here. And, uh, I think that kind of opposition is what probably your hearing a lot of. Uh, Anita Mangels, that is the idea that this, this is going to effect greenhouse gas and greenhouse gas and climate change are things that people need to be concerned about.
ANITA MANGELS: I mean you know, it's interesting. Uh, the Air Resources Board itself has said that California acting alone cannot do anything to reduce global warming. Um, the US EAP Secretary, Lisa Jackson, has said that the US acting alone cannot do anything to reduce global warming. Um, interestingly enough the Governor's point man on climate change, David Crane has actually said, that you know everyone in California could turn out their lights, get out of their cars and get onto bicycles and it wouldn't make any difference whatsoever in reducing global warming because everywhere else in the world where one person gets out of a car in California and onto a bicycle, ten people get off their bicycles and into a car. So everybody else is trying to industrialize to attain the lifestyle that we in California have taken for granted. But the fact of the matter is that if go ahead and again, this is not about repealing, weakening or anything else. It's about temporarily suspending the State's global warming law until the economy is in better shape.
ANITA MANGELS (CONTINUED): And others are going to march with us and actually doing something that will have meaning.
MICHAEL KRASNY: I've got to get a caller on here, because I think she's the author of a study that has been cited here. Carol, join us, hi.
CAROL: Hi. Uh, this is Carol Zabien from UC Berkeley and I wasn't on earlier but I was told that once again our study on AB 32 was, uh, misconstrued and its results distorted. Uh, our study was a preliminary study on the industries that could be, um, regulated by or overseen somehow by AB 32. And it never ever suggested that 3 million jobs were at risk. We reviewed all the other studies about the ultimate economic impact of AB 32 and concluded that it presented actually remarkable opportunities for California in terms of economic prosperity. Um, because California can be a leader and a lot of the jobs that would replace fossil fuel are simply stuck in California. For example, all the energy efficiency jobs. So we published an editorial in the L.A. Times. We've been disputing this misuse and distortion of our study for months now by the proponents of AB, of uh, Prop 23. And I am hereby going on record that you got it wrong.
MICHAEL KRASNY: Okay. I thank you for that call. I want to read some of the remarks that some of you put on our website. Uh, Susan says, it's ironic that Ms. Mangels is bringing up fires and smoke when that is all she is blowing right now. The study she just mentioned done by Tom Tanton who has a long history of talking money, taking money from polluters for his work. Is just more bad research funded by the very people who want to pass this dirty energy proposition. And, uh, here's Angela, she says. I love when the oil industry representative brings up the fact that there is no free lunch since that industry has been eating the free lunch since its beginning. The cost has been paid by working people whose job loss she is so concerned about. They've paid the price in poor health due to air pollution from exhaust. And in abominable working conditions. Not to mention the havoc climate changes has begun to reek on the poor in places like Pakistan, China and New Orleans. Just a sample of, uh, some strong opposition.
MICHAEL KRASNY (CONTINUED): But you're listening to Forum. And we're talking with Anita Mangels and David Hochschild. This is pledge week for KQED Public Radio. For more information about how to support KQED, go to kqed.org. I'm Michael Krasny. And let me bring another caller in from Berkeley. That's you, Earl, good morning.
EARL: Good morning. Thank you for taking my call.
MICHAEL KRASNY: Sure.
EARL: I haven't been able to listen to the entire, uh, program, so I'm not sure whether these issues have been addressed. But I have two questions. One is my understanding is that the Valero and Tesoro are supporting, uh, Prop 23, because among other reasons, they're not oil producers. That they are refiners and they are particularly concerned about the consequence of AB 32 for the differential in the value of refined oil and the price at the pump. And then my, um, second question is. Um, has there been any discussion about the multiple consequences of climate change including the rain forest, the coral reefs and all the other damage intended. And are the oil company profits so important that they're willing to take these kind of risks.
MICHAEL KRASNY: Okay. I thank you for those questions. Uh, actually, um, Anita Mangels, I want to come back to you. Because I would think you want to address some of the things that have been posted on our website, no doubt. But let me get a response from David Hochschild on this. Uh, especially about the refinery question.
DAVID HOCHSCHILD: Well, it is true, um, they have refineries in California and those are a source of, um, major concern I think for an air quality perspective. Um, you know, to me I think, uh, you know, of the, the fossil fuel industry in general. Um, is really concerned about this. Because it is a precedent for other states. And just going back to the role of environmental leadership. I really disagree with the earlier statement that somehow what California is doing can't make a difference. 'Cause that's absolutely false. If you look at what's happened for example with the renewable portfolio standard. Which was implemented, uh, almost 10 years ago here in California. It spread to 28 other states. We've seen it with, um, net metering, with the law that allows you to connect solar to your grid. It stared in California and it spread to 40 states. The reality is because of, uh, where we are with the U.S. Senate in this country, uh, we don't have the ability to, to get this kind of legislation enacted at a federal level.
DAVID HOCHSCHILD (CONTINUED): It will be State leadership that carries us forward. That's, that's a fact. And in fact, what we've seen is that State leadership can actually spread quite quickly. That's one thing, one of the things I think America does, uh, actually, can do very well. Is adopt strong policy quickly at a State level. And certainly for, uh, you know, issues around fossil fuel generation and energy. It's actually State government that has the biggest role to, to play.
MICHAEL KRASNY: Anita Mangels, I know there are a lot of issues that you'd like to address here. The, the gist of some of these comments though that have been coming across to us on our website is, the oil companies are after profits. They don't care about the environment. Uh, here's another listener, Steve who says. Miss Mangels is wrong. California's renewable energy portfolio standard would be wiped out with Prop 23. It is in AB 32, the language in the portfolio says clearly that no State agency including PUC and Energy Commission could move forward in any way. So we're getting all this kind of obviously adverse response and it kind of boils down to, it's all about the oil companies.
ANITA MANGELS: Well, that's what, and again, that is what the opponents would like you to believe. Which is at the very least the height of hypocrisy considering the Co Chair of No on 23 is heavily invested in oil and gas drilling and deep water activities off the Gulf of Mexico. If it's so bad, why are they in it.
MICHAEL KRASNY: Well, Steve Milvilly (sp?) and others who have defended him have said, he's not against, uh, regulation. What he's, and I mean he's in favor of regulation. What he's not against is, uh, is oil and gas. Anita.
ANITA MANGELS: Well, you can't, you can't have it both ways. But let, let's take this apart a little bit. The renewable portfolio standard, 20 percent is authorized outside of what Prop 23 would impact. So we would still have that 20 percent standard. Uh, in the City of Los Angeles, just the City of Los Angeles alone the Mayor has said, that's going to cost us 600 million dollars a year that we're going to have to pass through our rate payers. Um, this is not going to be cheap. Again, you know, PG&E 376 million dollars by 2020 in carbon fees that they're going to pass along to their customers. Um...
MICHAEL KRASNY: Let me get a quick response because we're coming up to the end of hour here. And we haven't addressed this and I'd like to hear what you have to say. Just really quickly, if you could David. Ask you about the cost. I mean there is a great deal of cost that goes, that's attached to AB 32.
DAVID HOCHSCHILD: You know, uh, there's been, um, a lot of myths out there about these huge costs. And I think the best, um, study that was done recently by the Browl (sp?) Group, um, which basically says that the cost of AB 32 implementation is negligible. A $20 meal, we're talking about basically a three cent increase. And what you'd get along with that is huge new investment in the clean tech economy. Which will be the gross sector of our State's economy as I mentioned. Job growth ten times faster in the clean tech sector.
MICHAEL KRASNY: That's going to have to be the final word. Because we've come to the end here. And, uh, I think you both certainly made a case for your respective sides. This is the third debate you've had. And who knows how many more there will be. Thank you for joining us. Anita Mangels, again is Yes on 23 communications director. David Hochschild is Vice President of External Relations for Solaria. We also had Craig Miller on, senior editor of KQED's Climate Watch. We're going to have Jonathan Franzette (sp?) in the next hour. I hope you'll join us for that. Thank you for being a part of this morning's program. We wouldn't be here without you, our listeners.