Californians have voted "no" on Proposition 23. With about 11 percent of precincts reporting as of 10 p.m. Pacific Time, results show 59 percent of the state have said "no" to Prop 23 -- and to the wishes of oil companies like Valero and Tesoro.
Prop 23 would have suspended AB 32, The Global Warming Solutions Act of of 2006, California's landmark clean air legislation. AB 32 requires that greenhouse gas emission levels in the state be cut to 1990 levels by 2020, and is slated to begin in 2012.
Proposition 23, if enacted by voters, would have frozen the provisions of AB 32 until California's unemployment rate dropped to 5.5 percent or less for four consecutive quarters.
But AB 32 will survive.
And now we'll see if greentech can improve Califonia's 12.4 percent unemployment situation and help clear the air in a state in which a majority of residents live in a county with substandard air quality.
We've written extensively on this crucial California ballot initiative: Prop 23 Would Black Out Solar For SunRun, Arnold Lashes Out at Valero, Prop 23 Opponents, AB 32 Slap Fight From the California Gubernatorial Candidates and The National and Environmental Impact of California's Proposition 23, as well as Elvis Costello and Jackson Browne on Prop 23.
Sunil Paul, investor and activist, suggested that Prop 23 is the first time that a population has voted on climate change.
AB 32 could also help the United States compete with China and Europe, both of which are aggressively pursuing this growth market. In 2010, the greentech market was about $10 billion. By 2020, it will could grow to $80 billion.
In voting down Prop 23, Californians rejected the job-loss scare tactics and questionable arguments of Texas oil companies.
But all is not unicorns and rainbows in California greentech.
Prop 23's frontal assault on AB 32 has been defeated. But a stealthier attack on greentech progress and evidence of California voter's split personality has survived. Prop 26 looks to have passed -- and that proposition requires that certain fees charged by state and local governments be approved by a two-thirds majority of voters or lawmakers, just like taxes. It could protect polluters who might have had to pay fees for the cleanup of toxic sites.
And while we're reporting on California politics: Democrat Jerry Brown is leading Republican Meg Whitman and her $141 million out-of-pocket campaign. Democrat Senator Boxer was declared the winner over Republican challenger Carly Fiorina.
And no legalized and taxed marijuana in California -- Prop 19 was defeated.
The industry is somewhat elated. Here are some comments that have rolled in:
ESolar (solar thermal) CEO John Van Scoter:
"The growing number of green jobs is a testament to the power and momentum of the industry, and we at eSolar are pleased to see California voters support clean technology innovation. As California continues to lead the nation in energy policy and investment, concentrating solar thermal power will play a major role in the deployment of renewable energy, and eSolar looks forward to bringing our projects online."
OriginOil (algae) CEO Riggs Eckelberry:
"Clean technology is California's newest boom industry, akin to the aerospace and high-tech industries that literally built our modern state into the G-8-sized powerhouse that it is today…AB 32 maintains the market certainty needed for investment, research and development of inventions, as well as jobs. Since its passage, clean tech venture capital in California has skyrocketed. That’s something we need to reinforce, not cut back on."
REC Solar CEO Angiolo Laviziano:
“Today we stand at the epicenter of the clean energy economy, and we thank the voters of California for supporting the continued growth of a stable and sustainable business environment,” said Angiolo Laviziano, chief executive officer of REC Solar in San Luis Obispo. “Companies like ours have installed hundreds of megawatts of clean, powerful solar energy, with thousands more to come, and it’s only a fraction of activity driven by the nearly $10 billion in investment capital than has flowed into California’s green technology sector. We are excited to keep the momentum moving forward.”
Tioga Energy (renewable services) CEO Paul Detering:
Renewable energy development is crucial to the evolution and growth of California’s economy, and we’re pleased that voters supported that growth in striking down Prop 23…With Prop 23’s attempt at undercutting clean energy industries now behind us, California can build on its position as a world leader in clean energy. We at Tioga Energy are excited to be a part of that momentum.”
“There were a thousand and one reasons to oppose this harmful big-oil ballot measure. Prop 23 posed a serious threat to new economic opportunity, to green innovation, to public health, to our environment, to our ability to compete in the global marketplace,” said Rosalind Jackson of Vote Solar. “I’m proud that Californians of all political leanings found a reason to join together in defense of our landmark climate change law and the brighter future it entails.”
“The election outcome has ramifications for the nation, not just California, with the vote to keep AB 32 alive,” said Dr. Bruce Bailey, president and CEO of AWS Truepower. “The state’s most substantive environmental law, AB 32 is a much-needed pillar of confidence for clean energy and climate regulation with its powers of influence on federal policy direction. Beyond local job creation, the law extends a level of assurance across the U.S. that there will be demand for clean tech products and services.”
"Today, solar power in California won a big battle with the defeat of Proposition 23," said Eric Hafter, senior vice president, Sharp Solar Energy Solutions Group, a division of Sharp Electronics Corp. "This was an important step forward to a clean energy future and will certainly have a positive impact on the solar industry in California. Green technology is not only important for our environment but it also helps create jobs, improve our infrastructure, and reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. We at Sharp look forward to working with the State's new leadership to continue to advance solar energy sector and additional green initiatives that protect our natural resources."