SACRAMENTO -- Suspending California's landmark climate change law would result in the loss of millions of dollars in state revenue and hurt the state's growing clean-tech industry, a report says.
The Center for Law, Energy & the Environment at the University of California at Berkeley Law School said the rollback initiative, Proposition 23, would benefit oil and power companies and increase regulatory burdens on real estate developers and automakers.
"It adds significant uncertainty at a time when we have a lot of economic uncertainty," the report's co-author Dan Farber said.
California's climate change law, signed by Gov. Schwarzenegger in 2006, attempts to reduce carbon emissions statewide to 1990 levels by 2020.
The rollback measure seeks to suspend the law until the statewide unemployment rate drops to 5.5 percent or less for four quarters in a row.
Farber said Proposition 23 would force the state to suspend a $63 million fee it plans to charge oil companies, utilities and other energy companies.
It would require the state to set aside a cap-and-trade program that puts limits on greenhouse gas emissions from oil refiners, utilities and other energy companies.
Under such a system, the state would sell carbon allowances its largest polluters, which could then use the allowances to offset their emissions or sell them on a secondary market.
Estimates of the state's revenues from a cap-and-trade system have ranged from $220 million to $550 million.
Another casualty: California's budding clean-tech sector.
Part of Assembly Bill 32 requires utilities to buy about a third of their energy supply from renewable sources.
Setting aside the law would result in the loss of clean jobs and limit investments in new technologies, the report said.
Proposition 23 would create inequities, the report said, between industries regulated by different climate change laws.
Oil companies and utilities would be relieved of their burdens under AB 32, but real estate developers and automakers governed by a separate set of climate change laws could see increased pressures from regulators, the report said.