Pacific Swell | Southern California environment news and trends

Green tech, green activists, celebrate (likely) defeat of Prop 23

Environmental groups gathered at Global Green USA headquarters in Santa Monica patted themselves on the back - in some cases, literally - for creating a coalition of environmental and business interests that together seem to have brought defeat to Proposition 23.

Early after the polls closed, in the main room at Global Green USA, on a big screen, Ron Johnson raised his hands in victory - the next U.S. Senator, elected over incumbent Russ Feingold in Wisconsin.

The difference is striking. In Wisconsin, they've elected a guy who doesn't seem to believe that climate change, man-made or not, is real:

In California, proponents of Proposition 23 went to some trouble to avoid calling climate change into question. Instead they pitched the measure as a manufacturing and job-saver.

I'll post comments on the results from environmental groups and venture capitalists as I receive them.

Tom Steyer, Co-chair and major donor, No on 23:

In the midst of a major economic downturn, and with a barrage of fear mongering and scare tactics, voters still said they want a clean energy future.

Ann Notthoff of Natural Resources Defense Councll: 

California voters made history today. The defeat of Proposition 23 is a decisive victory for the Golden State’s clean energy future. Proposition 23 was the largest public referendum in history on climate and clean energy policy, with almost 10 million California voters. In defeating Proposition 23, California voters sent a clear signal that they are ready to move forward to build a strong economy, create jobs, clean up our air, and end our addiction to dirty energy.

NRDC and a broad bipartisan coalition composed of environmental and public health advocates, businesses, labor unions, the NAACP, Latino organizations, community groups, utilities, consumers -- and yes, even some oil companies – fought Proposition 23 together. This coalition represents the new face of the environmental movement and promises a clean energy future for California. We will continue to work together to foster policies that provide multiple benefits, including a prosperous economy and improved public health.

The defeat of Proposition 23 confirmed what polls across the state have indicated: Nearly two-thirds of California voters are concerned about the environment. This broad-based support for strong environmental protection is forging policy that will lead to improved public health standards and an economy based on clean energy.

Erin Rogers, Union of Concerned Scientists:

Oil companies and other polluters spent tens of millions of dollars to drive a stake in the green heart of the nation, but instead they galvanized a powerful, bipartisan coalition that showed the world that the public does in fact support clean energy policies that improve air quality, generate clean energy jobs, and put the brakes on global warming.

ICLEI USA's Executive Director, Martin Chávez:

The path to a strong clean energy future and a green economy continues to run through the state of California after voters delivered Proposition 23 an overwhelming defeat.