The argument for Proposition 23 is simple - limiting greenhouse gas emissions under AB 32 will cost money, and will likely cost jobs in industries that generate greenhouse gasses. Based on that logic, Proposition 23 would only allow implementation of the greenhouse gas reductions currently in California law if California unemployment drops below 5.5% (it is currently over 12%) for a year.
But if California unemployment stays higher than 5.5%, or even if it drops to 4%, but bumps up to 6% after three quarters, then California would take no action to reduce greenhouse gasses.
Under Proposition 23, regardless of why unemployment is higher than 5.5%, California would take no action to reduce greenhouse gasses. Even if unemployment is high because jobs are being lost due to climate change - think of ski resorts closing due to no snow, fisheries destroyed due to changes in water temperature, beach resorts and airports damaged by higher sea levels, redwood forests dying from heat, valuable crops lost due to extreme weather conditions, and rivers running dry - we still would take no action.
The logic of Proposition 23 is the logic that says don't limit logging until all the trees are gone, because limiting logging takes away logging jobs that could last a few more years, or don't limit fishing until all the fish are gone, because limiting fishing takes away fishing jobs that could last a few more years. But how many logging jobs are there when all the trees are gone? How many fishing jobs are there when all the fish are gone?
If Proposition 23 passes, the oil refiners and other carbon-intensive industries who are backing it may get to make their profits for a bit longer. But at what long term cost? What happens when California and the rest of the world start really suffering from the effects of climate change? The potential job losses could make us nostalgic for the time when unemployment was only 12%.
Is it worth gambling with our economy, our health, perhaps even our survival, so that a few large companies can squeeze out a few more profitable years? The short term benefits to Valero and Tesoro are not worth the long term costs to every Californian and every California business. Vote no on Proposition 23 - we cannot afford it.