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Global Warming: AB 32 Strikes Debate

Sonora, Ca — Arguably the most contentious issue discussed at Friday´s Natural Resources Summit was AB 32, the greenhouse gas emissions bill that was signed by Governor Scwarzenegger in 2006.

The legislation mandates that California cut its greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. A panel of speakers spoke about the topic, including James Goldstene, Executive Officer of the California Air Resources Board, Carolyn Casovan, CEO of West Coast Environmental and Engineering and Steve Brink, VP of the California Forestry Association.

A question was submitted by the audience, asking that if it is eventually discovered that global warming does not exist, will there be anything done to reimburse small businesses that are forced to replace engines with more energy efficient models.

Goldstene responded to the question by stating that, ?Global warming does exist,? to which he heard a strong heckling of boos from some audience members.

?As we move forward in developing each measure in our scoping plan for AB 32, we are going to make sure that we´re working very closely with small businesses so that we understand exactly how to put our measures together to impact them in a positive way,? says Goldstene. ?Many people, particularly entrepreneurs, will see opportunities to create new products, and make our society more energy efficient and economically secure.?

Others who raised concerns over AB 32 during the morning event, and the negative financial effects that it could have on the timber, construction and farming industry, included Senator Dave Cogdill and Assemblyman Tom Berryhill.

Goldstene added, ?I think many companies will see opportunities to change the way that they run their own businesses, which will make them more energy efficient and save them money.?

Forestry Association representative Steve Brink, who retired from the U.S. Forest Service after 37 years, has been an opponent of AB 32. He spoke about the need to thin the forests, in order to cut down on carbon emissions created from forest fires.

?It makes the task much more difficult for the state (implementing AB 32), if we are going to allow wildfires to go unchecked,? says Brink. ?We simply have to back up, and look at how we can manage the density of the vegetation, to reduce the intensity, size and numbers of these large wildfires.?

The 2008 Natural Resources Summit, held at the Sonora Elks Lodge Friday morning, was hosted by Senator Cogdill, Assemblyman Berryhill and TuCare.

Written by BJ Hansen