When the California Legislature passed AB 32, it was heralded as ground breaking and promising to be the model for other states, or countries, to follow. In last month's election, the citizen's of California had to vote to protect the provisions of AB 32 from attack by unified oil interests (Valero, Tesoro and the Koch Brothers empire).
Having accomplished that much we seemed to breathe a collective sigh of relief and turned our attention to the next crisis du jour. Wrong choice! While we were media fed British Royal pablum or questioned whether Sarah Palin's visit to Haiti was intended to give her foreign policy credibility, California's Air Resources Board (ARB), the organization responsible for defining the rules under which polluters would be permitted to continue business as usual, was giving away those permits. They make that intention clear on their web site as they publish the background information for Thursday Dec. 16 Board Meeting. You can read the description of the free allocations here.
Next10 has posted the results of a recent study of implementation scenarios. They find that "The research shows that giving away allowances for free helps energy-intensive industries, but this
strategy actually hurts the CA economy overall." In fact, they find that both strategies will have a positive effect on employment in California, but that the free allocations will significantly reduce the number of net new jobs created.
I am increasingly doubtful that the public input will have much of an effect. However, like chicken soup for the flu, it can't hurt. Contact your state legislators, and make sure that you have made it clear to the ARB that California jobs are more important than the financial health of major polluters but giving your comments here.