Nelson Mandela: A life in pictures
Nelson Mandela and his wife Winnie in this undated file picture.
The fact that a report released by UC-Berkeley’s Center for Law, Energy and the Environment would “slam” Proposition 23, the oil-industry-funded attempt to suspend California’s climate change law, is hardly surprising. One of the authors of the study, California at the Crossroads: Proposition 23, AB 32, and Climate Change, is Berkeley professor Daniel Kammen, who helped former California Assemblymember Fran Pavley design AB 32, the landmark Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006. The day Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed the bill, Kammen commemorated the event in the San Francisco Chronicle, comparing its symbolic importance to the publication of Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring,” the first Earth Day in 1970 and the passage of the Clean Air Act.
For people like Kammen, AB 32 was the culmination of years and years of work and struggle, and the prospect that a ballot initiative bankrolled by a couple of Texas petrochemical companies could bring everything crashing to a halt must be devastating. Indeed, if the report demonstrates anything, it is just how many moving parts are involved in the ongoing effort to cut California’s global warming emissions 30 percent in 2020.
Just for starters:
Proposition 23 would suspend all of those measures adopted to date, including CARB’s low-carbon fuel standard, restrictions on high global warming potential refrigerants, increased landfill methane capture, SmartWay truck efficiency, tire pressure program, reduction of high global warming potential greenhouse gases in consumer products, ship electrification at ports, reduction of perfluorocarbons from the semiconductor industry, and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) reductions in non-utility and non-semiconductor applications.
Proposition 23 would also deliver a body blow to the state’s burgeoning cleantech sector, since it would throw into question California’s renewable energy standard, which requires that 33 percent of the state’s energy come from renewable sources by 2020, and which depends upon AB 32 for its authority. But interestingly, even though it is clear that gutting the renewable energy standard would lead to job losses in the renewable energy sector, the report does not make any claim about the net long-term effect Proposition 23 might have on California’s labor market, going only so far as to say that “the indirect effects of Proposition 23 on employment, however, are disputed among economists.”
Indeed they are. It is certainly not inconceivable that higher energy prices will have some kind of dampening effect on employment. Whether that will be compensated for by new jobs in the renewable energy sector is a very difficult thing to predict with any degree of certainty.
But what struck me most about the Berkeley report was its argument that suspending AB 32 would cripple state and national “momentum” towards the “transition to a clean energy economy.”
Moreover, because California is known as a national policy leader, and because states do learn from and emulate one another, the suspension of AB 32 might raise doubt about other climate policy efforts being pursued at the federal, regional, state, and local levels.
Well, yeah. Isn’t that kind of the point? The fossil fuel industry doesn’t just want to stop progressive energy legislation in California, it wants to bring it to a screeching halt everywhere. The fascinating thing about the above declaration is that it works as both a reason to vote against Proposition 23, and to vote for it!
California’s history as a pioneer in environmental legislation, energy efficiency, restrictions on automotive emissions, etc., goes back decades. Each new advance has built on previous efforts — AB 32 is the jewel in the crown, so far. If Proposition 23 passes, it won’t just mean a suspension of California’s efforts to build a clean energy future, it will mean that voters have rejected a core state narrative. It’s a big deal.
Nelson Mandela and his wife Winnie in this undated file picture.
Mandela is accompanied by his former wife Winnie, moments after his release from prison February 11, 1990 after serving 27 years in jail. (Reuters)
In this February, 1990 photo, shortly after his release from 27 years in prison, Nelson Mandela, gives the black power salute to the 120,000 supporters packing Soccer City stadium in Soweto, near Johannesburg. (AP Photo)
Nelson Mandela showed his passport in February 19, 1990, shortly after his release from prison. The South African government authorized an application for himself and his wife Winnie - (Juda Ngwenya / Reuters)
In this July 27, 1991 photo, Cuban President Fidel Castro, and Nelson Mandela gesture during the celebration of the "Day of the Revolution" in Matanzas, Cuba. (AP Photo)
In this July 4, 1993 photo, President Bill Clinton and Nelson Mandela listen during Fourth of July ceremonies in Philadelphia during which Clinton presented the Philadelphia Liberty Medal to the African National Congress president and South African President F.W. de Klerk. (AP Photo/Greg Gibson)
President of the African National Congress Nelson Mandela acknowledges cheers from the crowd as he prepares to unveil the ANC's official election platform in 1994. (AP Photo/David Brauchli)
African National Congress (ANC) leader Nelson Mandela greeted residents of Mmabatho in March 1994, during a visit after the nominal homeland came under South African control following the ousting of the former President Lucas Mangope. (Reuters/Howard Burditt)
South African President Nelson Mandela smiles with actor Sidney Poitier at a press conference in Cape Town in 1996. Poitier played Mandela in the film "One Man, One Vote" (AP Photo / Sasa Kralj)
South African President Nelson Mandela waves to crowds as he sits next to Queen Elizabeth II in a an open carriage on the way to Buckingham Palace.(AP/Louisa Buller)
Chairman of the Constitutional Assembly Cyril Ramaphosa, left, holds up a copy of the country's constitution which was signed by President Nelson Mandela, in December 1996. (AP Photo / Adil Bradlow / POOL)
Nelson Mandela at a news conference in Johannesburg in February 2000. (AP Photo / Denis Farrell)
South African rugby captain Francois Pienaar, right, received the Rugby World Cup trophy from President Nelson Mandela also wearing a South African rugby shirt, after South Africa defeated New Zealand in the Rugby World Cup , in 1995. (AP Photo / Ross Setford)