California Green vs. Texas Oil, or, States Rights vs. Interstate Commerce Clause

Californians Air Board 32 (AB 32) is legislation that caps carbon in California and mandates emission reductions. Green jobs in California have grown at a steady clip from 1995 – 2008, with green tech businesses growing by 45% and green employment by 36%. The state of California has sent such a positive and consistent message that California will help nurture green investments, that it attracts 60% of all clean-tech in vestments in the US. 5 of California’s cities are amongst the top 10 clean tech investment cities, while 7 of the nations top green firms are based out of California too.

Apparently TX oil is rumored to be trying to thwart AB32, but I wonder if State’s rights or the Interstate Commerce Clause trumps here. CO2 could be considered a toxic substance on a global scale, so I could see why California has the right to regulate it, but big oil is no cupcake, has put up some very nasty fights in the past, but I think this year is not looking to favorably on oil considering the  oil spills and  the endless tar sands ecological catastrophe (and consistent media attention off the tube). 2010 is a big year for a greener China, as it has  just surpassed America this year in both total green investments ($34.6b to $18.6b) and smart grid investments at  $7.3b / $7.2 billion.   The Golden State is still recovering from a budget crisis, and it would be a shame if TX pushed California under the Green Chinese bus storming through town this year, by sending a signal to efficiency investors (that’s what green/clean tech. often is) that their money is more safely invested in China. TX legislature will be interesting to watch this year.



[i] Agence France-Presse. “China overtakes U.S. in green investment.” Reprinted by Mother Nature Network. Mar. 25th, 2010

[i] Siegel, RP. “China Now World Leader in Smart Grid Investment.” Triple Pundit- People Planet Profit February 8th, 2010.


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