Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger says political candidates and forces in his own party who argue
for the suspension of the state's climate change law are "trying to pull the wool over people's eyes" and have "the intention of eliminating" the landmark climate change bill he signed in 2006.
"There is no suspension," the governor said in an interview with The Chronicle last week, adding that the state's economy is "like a ship - and when you approach the iceberg, you cannot just move the ship."
Likewise, the state cannot "from one year to the next, change policy and stop the creation of jobs," he said. "We have to be consistent and stay in place. You have to be flexible with your regulations, and you've got to move forward."
The remarks were Schwarzenegger's strongest to date on the efforts of Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman, who has said she would suspend the law for one year if elected, and proponents of Proposition 23, a measure on the November ballot that would suspend AB32.
While he acknowledged that California's economy is "not yet where we want it to be," Schwarzenegger argued that freezing policies on climate change would be "wrong, and it would be devastating." He said the move would seriously undermine California's efforts to attract new investment and create thousands of new jobs in green technology.
Schwarzenegger said California has sent a message to green technology industries to "come here ... we will give you the tax incentives, we will give you the work power, we will find you the warehouses. We are here to help you: Come here and do business."
"That is a tremendous message," he added, and it is "having an effect on the most powerful companies in the world."
The governor predicted that opposing AB32 "will backfire on candidates because the majority of people in California are 100 percent in support of having a good environment, having the protections, creating jobs and stimulating the economy."
A Field Poll released this month found that 48 percent of California voters oppose Prop. 23, 36 percent support the measure and 16 percent are undecided.
This article appeared on page A - 12 of the San Francisco Chronicle