SOLANA BEACH — Demonstrating its ongoing leadership role toward environmental sustainability, City Council unanimously adopted at the May 12 meeting a resolution supporting the continued implementation of Assembly Bill 32, the Global Warming Solutions Act, and opposing any efforts to delay the law.
In September 2006, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed the bill, which requires a statewide reduction of greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020.
The California Jobs Initiative, which will likely appear on the November ballot, is an effort to delay implementation of AB32 until the economic climate is back to where it was when the bill was signed into law.
One stipulation is to wait until the unemployment rate is at 5.5 percent or less for four consecutive calendar quarters. In a presentation to council members, Danny King, the assistant city manager, said that has happened only three times in the last 30 years.
The debate is focused on the potential costs of AB32. Proponents say it will create jobs and save individuals money. Opponents claim the cost of compliance will drive businesses out of the state. They say the numbers are inflated because the analysis was conducted during better economic times.
A more recent analysis released in March concluded the bill would still have a positive impact on the economy, however, earlier estimated benefits were reduced.
King said the updated analysis was approved by a 16-member committee and an independent panel of economic business and financial leaders.
Groups supporting AB32 include environmental organizations and the California chapters of the American Lung Association, League of Women Voters and Teamsters. Proponents of the California Jobs Initiative include the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, California Small Business Association and state Republican Party.
During the public comment period, council members received nothing but support to adopt a resolution for the continued implementation of AB32.
“If anybody gives you any grief about it, we’ve got your back,” Steve Goetsch, chairman of the city’s Clean and Green Committee, said.
Resident Roger Boyd called the resolution “an important signal to our region that we are a green city determined to lead the way to a clean and green environment.”
Aaron Contorer, who once analyzed technology trends for Microsoft, said it would be “a huge mistake” to say AB32 will exacerbate unemployment.
“In fact, AB32, by forcing the advancement of technology and the advancement of the high tech industry in California, will create vast numbers of jobs,” said Contorer, chairman of the nonpartisan Equinox Center, which seeks solutions to balance San Diego’s regional growth with its finite natural resources.
“We don’t have a spare planet to ruin so let’s take care of the one we’re on,” he said.
Bruce Bekkar, chairman of Del Mar’s Energy Issues Advisory Committee, said his group will be recommending a similar resolution to that city’s council members in the next month or two.
The California Air Resources Board, the agency charged with implementing AB32, adopted a plan outlining the state’s strategy to achieve the reduced limits.
For its part Solana Beach has already taken several steps, starting with signing the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement in 2007. The city has also implemented several changes in government operations and the community.
These include adoption of a mandatory construction and demolition debris recycling ordinance, an incentive-based commuter policy and green building program, a ban on two-stroke gas-powered leaf blowers and a baseline greenhouse gas emissions inventory.
All future efforts to comply with AB32, should it not be delayed, will be brought to City Council for full discussion to ensure fiscal responsibility, Mayor Tom Campbell said.