Josh Goodman is a former staff writer for GOVERNING..E-mail: email@example.com
Meg Whitman is trying to distinguish herself from Arnold Schwarzenegger as she runs for governor of California. She's also trying to court conservatives in the Republican primary. And, she's found a good way to do both of those things at the same time: opposing Schwarzenegger's signature achievement.
That would be AB 32, which mandated that the state reduce CO2 emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. Schwarzenegger signed it into law in 2006. Now, it's become one of the top topics in the state. Business groups are trying to suspend the law through a ballot measure, while Whitman has promised to delay implementation of the law if she's elected governor.
That got me wondering: What does Whitman think about global warming? She's running in an environmentally sensitive state, but she's also running in a Republican primary in which many voters probably are global warming skeptics. In other relatively progressive states, Republican gubernatorial candidates this year are doubting the science behind global warming.
Finding Whitman's views on climate change was more difficult than I expected, but it turns out that she's not one of the skeptics. Here's what she told Flash Report, a conservative Web site:
Whitman: So I think the science is fairly compelling behind global warming. Nothing is iron-clad in science, but as I look at the data, it does look to me that the earth is warming. It started largely around the Industrial Revolution and it has gone pretty dramatically up over the last 110, 120 years. And you look at some of the obvious statistics around the size of the polar ice caps and things, it does look to me like the earth is warming. I would also make the conclusion that actually man does have a hand in this. There may also be long-term cycles to me, but I would say it does, to me, looks like the data says that man has had a hand in this.
And therefore, I say, "Okay. Let's assume that's true. But there's other reasons to try to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. There's other reasons to reduce greenhouse gas emissions". And my view is, so, guess what, actually? Whether you are an environmentalist or whether you are interested in foreign policy, there's a reason to get off fossil fuels. I am, in fact, deeply connected to making our environment better. What has happened here is that we have lost balance. And you know, in life, balance is everything. And we have lost the balance between protecting the environment and protecting people and jobs.
And as I said in speech at the convention in Indian Wells, we can not lose sight of people and jobs because California needs them both. So my view on AB32 is while it has laudable goals, there's a flaw, and the flaw is we are rushing to implementation here in a time where we have the highest unemployment rate we've had in a long time, where we are absolutely placing California at an economic disadvantage to Oregon, Colorado, Utah, Nevada.
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