Texas Oil Companies Funding California Ballot Initiative
Texas oil companies donating big money to put an initiative on California’s November ballot that would repeal Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32, 2006) which reduces greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The initiative is titled the “California Jobs Initiative,” and supporters claim the Act will cost jobs. The San Diego News Network (SDNN) reported that according to campaign finance disclosures filed in March, nearly 90 percent of all funds were contributed from oil companies, with over 70 percent from Texas-based oil companies.
Sierra Club said on its website that Texas oil companies, Valero and Tesoro are responsible for 16.7 percent of reported GHG emissions in California. The Contra Costa Times reported that Chevron and Shell do not plan on contributing to the initiative.
The Global Warming Solutions Act requires oil refineries, manufacturers, cement plants, utilities among others to begin reducing GHG emissions in 2012. It is the first economy-wide cap on emissions in U.S., and requires California to reduce emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, about 30 percent from levels projected if there were no regulations.
The California Air Resources Board (CARB) is charged with implementing the Global Warming Solutions Act. CARB estimates that the Act will promote investments in clean technology and reduce the state’s overall fuel expenses $3.8 billion by 2020.
CARB approved a Scoping Plan to implement the Global Warming Solutions Act. According to CARB analysis, the Scoping Plan “contains measures designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by increasing the efficiency with which California uses all forms of energy and by reducing its dependence on the fossil fuels that produce greenhouse gases.”
Furthermore, CARB’s analysis states that implementing the Scoping Plan will not “adversely affecting the growth of California’s economy over the next decade, especially as the state recovers from the current economic downturn.”
Scoping Plan provides a number of approaches to implement the Global Warming Solutions Act, including:
- Expanding and strengthening existing energy-efficiency programs as well as the standards which apply to buildings and appliances
- Achieving a statewide renewable-energy contribution of 33 percent
- Developing a California cap-and-trade program that links with other Western
- Climate Initiative partner programs to create a regional market system
- Establishing targets for transportation-related GHG emissions for regions throughout California, and pursuing policies and incentives to achieve those targets
- Adopting and implementing measures that were already in progress, including
- California’s clean-car standards, goods-movement measures, and Low Carbon Fuel Standard
If the Scoping Plan is not implemented, California’s economy would grow at an annual average rate of 2.4 percent, and fuel expenditures would increase at an annual rate of 1.7 percent. However, if the Scoping Plan is implemented, the economic growth rate would still be 2.4 percent, but fuel expenditures would be reduced 4.9 percent. GHG emissions would also be reduced by 15 percent.