PG&E opposes measure to curtail climate law

The effort to suspend California's greenhouse gas emissions law has drawn perhaps its toughest foe now that PG&E has aligned itself with the opposition.

Pacific Gas and Electric Co. joined companies like SunPower Corp., Recurve and Oak Creek Energy against Proposition 23, which will appear on November ballots and, if passed would effectively end the state's Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, or AB 32.

AB 32 requires the state to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020.

"Studies show that unchecked climate change could cost California's economy alone tens of billions of dollars a year in losses to agriculture, tourism and other sectors," said Peter Darbee, Chairman and CEO of PG&E, in a statement. "Thoughtful and balanced implementation of AB 32 is one of the most important opportunities we have to avoid this costly outcome while spurring new clean-tech investment, innovation and job creation in California."

PG&E says it's "working closely with policymakers on creative ways to ensure that the law's vital environmental objectives are achieved at the lowest possible cost to customers and the California economy."

The effort won praise from groups that we're beating up the utility in recent weeks for its support of Prop. 16, which would have made it more difficult for local governments to start their own utilities.

Californians for Clean Energy and Jobs says on its site that "AB 32 has put California in a unique position to lead the clean energy and technology market, both in the United States and abroad." Steven Maviglio, spokesman, said in a statement that "PG&E, one of our state's largest employers, knows that Proposition 23 will kill jobs, drive up energy costs for families and businesses, and deal a blow to California's leadership in developing clean energy."

Expect a tough battle in coming months. The economy is in bad shape and that's the thrust of Prop. 23 supporters' message.

Anita Mangels, spokeswoman for the California Jobs Initiative committee that's backing Prop. 23, told Josh Richman of that Prop. 23 "will not weaken, repeal or roll back" AB 32 but "temporarily adjust the timetable for implementing" the costly measure until the state's economy improves.

"Prop. 23 would protect California families and businesses from billions of dollars in higher energy costs that would result from implementation of AB 32. It's no surprise that PG&E would oppose Prop. 23, since defeating the initiative would allow PG&E to increase its rates and its profits at the expense of California's already struggling families and businesses."

The San Joaquin Valley Clean Energy Organization is a nonprofit dedicated to improving our region's quality of life by increasing its production and use of clean and alternative energy. The SJVCEO works with cities and counties and public and private organizations to demonstrate the benefits of energy efficiency and renewable energy throughout the eight-county region of the San Joaquin Valley.