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Posted: November 04, 2010

A state does what the feds can’t

We're dealing with greenhouse gases, too

Martha Young

California's Proposition 23, euphemistically labeled the California Jobs Initiative, was soundly rejected in Tuesday's election. Proposition 23 aimed to table California State law AB 32, which requires the state to cut greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. Proposition 23 was seeking to have that law suspended until the unemployment rate dropped to 5.5 percent or lower for four consecutive quarters.

The proposition was backed by Valero Energy Corporation, Tesoro Corporation, Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, California Republican party, Assembly member Dan Logue, Republican Congressman Tom McClintock, and the California Manufacturers & Technology Association.

California's defeat of Proposition 23 sends a message to Washington that if it cannot get its collective act together to support greenhouse gas reductions on a national level, the state will move forward independently.

Colorado is second to California in terms of legislation that sets goals to drive down carbon emissions. Governor Ritter has signed over 50 pieces of legislation aimed at moving Colorado into a broader portfolio of energy solutions concurrently improving Colorado's air quality and adding to its economic base with alternative and sustainable industries without gutting its oil and gas economic heritage.

In April, Ritter signed the Clean Air-Clean Jobs Act into law. This piece of legislation reached across the aisle and garnered support from Republican Senate Minority Leader Josh Penry of Grand Junction along with numerous other GOP representatives, the state's natural-gas industry, Xcel Energy, and environmentalists. The bill ensured Colorado would be ahead of any federal EPA air-quality standards. The bill also supports Colorado's natural-gas industry.

Energy requirements continue to grow across the globe. Meeting those needs with a variety of solutions enables a smooth migration from dirty coal to natural gas, nuclear, wind, solar, and an entire portfolio of options.

The US Senate failed to pass any climate legislation in 2010 in spite of the fact that President Obama had made a commitment in January in Copenhagen at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to reduce US greenhouse gas emissions to 4 percent below 1990 levels by 2020.

It does not matter if the science behind greenhouse gas emissions is accurate or if the data has been manipulated. What matters is the quality of air everyone breathes. Continuing to pollute the environment in an aggressive, egregious manner has contributed to a measurable rise in health and respiratory illnesses. As we seek to contain skyrocketing healthcare expenses, each of us needs to recognize our role in creating an unhealthy environment. We need to act on an individual basis to clean up our own polluting habits.

The defeat of California's Proposition 23 is a message to the people and businesses within the State that the time to start the clean up process is now. It is a message to Washington that they are moving on without federal leadership. And, it is a message to the rest of the country that quality of life is fundamental to the State's future. Colorado lawmakers agree.

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Martha Young is principal at NovaAmber, LLC, a business strategy company based in Golden. Young has held positions as industry analyst, director of market research, competitive intelligence analyst, and sales associate. She has written books, articles, and papers regarding the intersection of technology and business for over 15 years. She has co-authored four books on the topics of virtual business processes, virtual business implementations, and project management for IT. Young can be reached at or on Twitter @myoung_vbiz




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Readers Respond

Joe, I agree with you, CO2 and the sun go through natural cycles. Volcanos produce more CO2 than all of the automobiles combined. The issue, however, is the human factor. By contributing tailpipe and smokestack emissions we distrupt the natural cycles that create balance. It is the unnatural, non-cyclical, imbalanced human contributions that need to be addressed. That is what Californians voted to support. By Martha on 2010 11 22
Nearly all CO2 is from dead plants. As the world was warming (because the sun was hotter), we had more plants which during the winter made more dead plants and more C02. C02 tracks temperature (not vice-versa). In the next couple of years, the sun should cool (it goes through a cycle) and we will see less C02 which isn't necessarily a good thing. Clean air is good (of course), but C02 should be associated with a healthy planet. By Joe Doll on 2010 11 18
Joe, the bills noted are not cap and trade. They are true CO2 reduction requirements. On the spectrum of clean air solutions, I agree with you, Cap-N-Trade is one of the more screwy ideas being considered. Actual CO2 reductions and real efficiency improvements is, in my opinion, the only way to permanently solve the problem. When dollars are involved in the solution, like the trade part of Cap and Trade, there will undoubtedly be corruption and dirty players. Thank you for taking the time to sharing your thoughts! By Martha on 2010 11 16
The Federal bill on reducing emissions would have made Obama, as a holder of a huge amount of equity in Shore Bank, a billionaire. Cap and trade isn't clean air, it is simply grand theft. Obama should be impeached for conflict of interest in this matter. By Joe Doll on 2010 11 16
Alternative energy solutions are being adopted around the globe, Jan. This isn't a left or right issue. It is about energy independence and national security coupled with a healthy environment. The federal position (or lack of) has nothing to do with the fiscal issues of CA. Those, like all other states, stem from entitlement programs that fail to have termination dates and continue to accumulate. Over 3/4 of the Federal budget goes to entitlements, of which about half go back to the 1940s. I'm all for intellectual discourse, but skip the derogatory labels. It it wholly unproductive. Thanks for taking the time to respond. By Martha on 2010 11 05
And that is why CA is broke, i.e., $138 bil in debt. We have stopped he Feds from making the rest of us go broke, no thanks to flaming liberals like yourself who can't comprehend that 98% of our heat energy comes from the sun. By Jan M Sather on 2010 11 05

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