Professors fight for clean air

A couple of climate-study veterans have lent their support to retaining California's Global Warming Solutions Act, or AB 32.

Rachel Morello-Frosch, an associate professor at the University of California, Berkeley, and Manuel Pastor, a professor at the University of Southern California, said the "enormous potential" for cleaner air shouldn't be overlooked and cited a Field poll last week that found that 58% of Californians support the policy.

"California's climate law was put into place years ago and now it's time to implement it," they wrote on the Huffington Post. "Economic research on this issue shows that green job growth is a more likely result of climate policy and California is well-positioned for gains in that sector. If the oil companies win, it will just delay the immediate opportunity for cleaner air and better public health."

Their post comes on the heels of reports underlining the power of energy efficiency to bolster the economy and an increasingly vocal battle by opponents of AB 32 who call it a boondoggle.

The Wall Street Journal said AB 32's compliance costs will force businesses to cut jobs and raise prices.

Under AB 32, cities would have to establish energy consumption baselines for their communities and work to reduce those levels through energy efficiency measures. That would mean retrofitting buildings by installing cool roofs, LED lighting, low-wattage fluorescents, variable frequency drive pumps and high-efficiency air conditioning systems, among other measures.

Morello-Frosch and Pastor also wrote the study, "Minding the Climate Gap: What's at Stake if California's Climate Law isn't Done Right and Right Away," which says people of color and the poor have the most to lose if efforts to confront climate change are delayed.