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10 years after enactment: a look at California's clean energy law

Flip a coin.

Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger affixed his lengthy signature to the California Global Warming Solutions Act in 2006, enacting that legislation -- more informally known as AB 32 -- into law across the state.

Since he put pen to paper, AB 32 has been flatly controversial, with proponents lauding its effects and critics weighing in with strong arguments regarding its perceived role in harming California's economy.

As a recent media spotlight on California law regarding greenhouse gas emissions notes, the debate centering on whether the enacted energy rules have been salutary or deleterious "continues unabated at the state Capitol and beyond."

Schwarzenegger is understandably forceful and unequivocal in his views regarding AB 32, stating that the legislation's tough environmental requirements have not dampened California's economy.

Indeed, he credits the statutory law he signed as fundamentally contributing to the Golden State's economic resilience, and he says that anyone who questions the wisdom of codifying and enforcing the legislation "is either wrong, or lying."

Such comments ring unduly harshly in the ears of critics, which do not lack across the state.

Dan Logue, an ex-state Assemblyman and, like Schwarzenegger, a Republican, is one of them. He counters that the existence and application of AB 32 owes to a "political correctness that has collapsed the economy in California." Logue says that, because California's air quality already ranks comparatively high among all states, subjecting California businesses to singular and notably exacting environmental regulations simply don't sense.

"[W]hy are we doing this when no one else is?" he queries.

A number of commentators on AB 32 say that more time must pass before the law's true costs and benefits can be accurately gauged. One well-known environmental economist notes that some of AB 32's central requirements don't take full effect for several more years.

Given that, it's likely that we will revisiting this topic in the future on one or more occasions.

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