BusinessGreen.com Staff, BusinessGreen, Wednesday 3 November 2010 at 11:30:00
Proposition 23 defeated as voters back climate change laws, despite multimillion-dollar campaign from oil giants
California yesterday retained its position as one of the global leaders in clean technology and climate change policy, after voters rejected a proposition that would have indefinitely suspended the state's flagship climate change bill.
With results from 48 precincts having been reported, "no" votes against Proposition 23 stood at 59 per cent, representing a significant victory for green campaigners including Bill Gates, Google co-founder Sergey Brin and Avatar director James Cameron, as well as current state governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Michael Eckhart, president of trade group the American Council on Renewable Energy, told Reuters: "This is reaffirmation that we are a country of some enlightenment. A majority of Californians, even in great stress of unemployment and economic demise, will still accept this responsibility. Rejecting an attempt to destroy the environment is a good thing. "
Prop 23 would have suspended the state's AB 32 law until unemployment fell to 5.5 per cent or less for four straight quarters.
Commentators argued that the move would have effectively scrapped the legislation altogether as the state's current unemployment rate is running at over 10 per cent and has dipped below 5.5 per cent for only two short periods in the last 20 years.
The vote means that California will retain its target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, ensuring a third of the state's electricity comes from renewable sources by the same date and launching a regional emissions trading scheme.
The vote represents a major victory for green businesses and environmental groups after Republican politicians and out-of-state oil companies waged a high-profile campaign in favour of Prop 23, spending millions on TV ads in support of the proposition. …