November 3, 2010
WASHINGTON, D.C. – California voters rejected Proposition 23 on the ballot on election day, turning away an oil industry-sponsored challenge to the state’s landmark clean energy law. The vote in California demonstrates strong public support for moving towards a cleaner energy future and adds momentum to state efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, according to Consumers Union, the nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports.
“The defeat of Prop 23 is a victory not only for California but for clean energy efforts across the country,” said Shannon Baker-Branstetter, Consumers Union’s Energy and Environment Policy Counsel. “While efforts on the national level have been blocked by opponents, states are working together to limit greenhouse gas emissions and promote investments in cleaner energy alternatives. Tuesday’s vote on Prop 23 will encourage those initiatives and lead the way for more states to take action.”
The vote in California was watched closely around the country as a test of public support for clean energy initiatives during tough economic times. Prop 23 would have suspended California’s clean air and clean energy law, enacted by state lawmakers four years ago. The law has helped make California the leading state for investments in clean technology and energy businesses by mandating a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020.
In addition to California’s clean energy law, many other states have been working towards reducing their reliance on dirty energy sources, including:
Renewable Portfolio Standards: Eighteen states have enacted renewable portfolio standards requiring utilities to derive a set percentage of electricity from renewable energy sources by a certain date. These standards range from an eight percent renewable requirement by 2020 in Pennsylvania to a 33 percent requirement by 2020 in California. North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, Virginia, and Vermont have adopted voluntary goals for renewable energy use.
Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI): Ten northeastern and mid-Atlantic states have pledged to limit and reduce the growth of CO2 emissions for electric power plants. The RGGI states must limit covered emission to 188 million tons of CO2 for the next four years and then reduce them by 2.5 percent each year through 2018. States participating in the RGGI sell emission allowances through auctions and invest the proceeds into energy efficiency, renewable energy, and clean energy technologies. The RGGI is comprised of Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont
Western Climate Initiative (WCI): The WCI is made up of seven western states (Arizona, California, Montana, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah) and four Canadian provinces. The effort aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 15 percent below 2005 levels by 2020. While a cap and trade program was originally intended to be at the heart of the effort, only California has passed such legislation. The WCI is currently exploring other alternatives, including stronger building codes, stricter appliance efficiency standards, and renewable portfolio standards for electricity production.
Midwestern Greenhouse Gas Reduction Accord: Made up of six states (Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin) and one Canadian province, this effort seeks a 20 percent reduction below 2005 greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 and an 80 percent reduction by 2050. Final rules for the program have not yet been issued.
David Butler – 202-462-6262 or Michael McCauley – 415-431-6747