Oil Companies Bankroll CA Climate-Change Measure


"Law would require CA to roll back carbon emissions to 1990 levels."

In California, voters will decide Tuesday whether to put the state's landmark climate-change law on hold until the jobless rate there goes down.

The ballot measure known as Proposition 23 is being bankrolled mostly by oil companies. Supporters aren't saying that global warming is a good thing—or that it doesn't exist. Their arguments have mainly been about economic effects.

The unemployment rate in California is more than 12 percent right now, and that's what seems to worry the woman in one ad in favor of the proposition:

But California has a long tradition of being a trendsetter in environmental matters, and the global warming law that Proposition 23 would suspend is just the latest example. It would require the state to roll back carbon emissions to 1990 levels by the next decade.

Getting there would mean instituting a cap-and-trade system, in which businesses that emit large amounts of carbon would have to pay for the privilege.

It's not uncommon in California for so-called citizens' initiatives to be funded by large corporations. Their millions usually dwarf their opponents' funds.

But not this time. Opponents of Proposition 23 have raised about three times as much money, with a donor list including Bill Gates, Avatar director James Cameron and some of California's top venture capitalists. And one of the strongest voices against Proposition 23 is a voice that everyone knows: California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

"Right now, I am together with the Democrats, with the environmentalists, with the business leaders," he recently told the crowd at a women's conference.

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