On August 30, 2006 California’s Governor and legislative leaders reached agreement on final language for Assembly Bill 32 to make California the first state to address greenhouse gases comprehensively. This paves the way for final passage and signature of the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006. Bringing a plug-in hybrid to Sacramento at a critical moment as part of a powerhouse delegation may have helped win the day!

People tell me, "AB 32 gives me hope. So often I feel the problem is too big. This actually does something. And states can be a model for action." In the wake of AB 1493, the bill enacted in 2002 to curb greenhouse gases from cars, and the Northeast Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative that could reduce power-plant CO2 emissions 24 million tons, this bill covering the state’s entire economy will reduce them by over 170 million tons.

The campaign for the bill was led by the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Environmental Defense Fund, with Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2) founder Bob Epstein devoting most of his life to the effort for well over a year. (In the halls of the Capitol, he can say hi to everyone.)

Two weeks ago, we posted at CalCars-News a report with details about the legislation and the story of my joining an August 16 Greentech Innovation Network delegation to Sacramento on behalf of the bill. (In above photo, maximum caption size means I had to be cryptic.) When I showed a photograph of my PHEV parked a few blocks away, describing it as an example of California innovation, and picked up the electrical "dongle" I carry with me to "show the infrastructure," legislators all day and press conference attendees perked up.

The media reported that John Doerr of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB) convincingly predicted a wave of new clean-energy technology, saying entrepreneurs "are going to go out and compete and innovate to bring enormous solutions to the market" if the bill became law.

We were hoping our strategically-timed appearance during final negotiations would counter organized opponents’ contentions that business interests were unanimously aligned against the bill. Since then, we heard privately from several sources that our visit made a big difference. And today, front-page lead stories in the San Jose Mercury News and The New York Times confirm that. The Wall Street Journal goes so far as to say that Silicon Valley executives made the difference for the Governor. Excerpts follow (read the full articles to hear about the final bill).

San Jose Mercury News August 31, 2006 Page 1
By Mike Zapler, MediaNews Sacramento Bureau

SACRAMENTO – Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Democratic leaders endorsed landmark legislation Wednesday that could serve as a national model for combating global warming and, according to Silicon Valley business leaders, spur a wave of clean energy technology.

Opinion within the business community is divided. Some argued that the measure could dramatically increase energy costs, hurting the state’s business climate and causing some companies to leave California.

But business interests in Silicon Valley, including prominent venture capitalist John Doerr and alternative energy company executives, lobbied heavily for the bill. They said it would spur investments in such energy technologies as solar, wind, coal gasification and fuel cells, which can produce energy with low or no emissions of greenhouse gases and other pollutants.

The New York Times, Page 1, August 31, 2006
By Felicity Barringer

SACRAMENTO, Aug. 30 — California’s political leaders announced an agreement on Wednesday that imposes the most sweeping controls on carbon dioxide emissions in the nation, putting the state at the forefront of a broad campaign to curb the man-made causes of climate change despite resistance in Washington.

Business leaders had been divided on the climate-change measure, with leading venture capitalists from Silicon Valley openly stumping for passage, saying the measure will create new industries and new jobs. The state’s Chamber of Commerce led the opposition, saying that the measure would prompt an exodus of industry to other states without emission controls, while California would be hamstrung in trying to attract out-of-state businesses.

The Wall Street Journal, August 31, 2006; Page A1
By Jeffrey Ball and Jim Carlton

One reason Gov. Schwarzenegger ended up agreeing to the bill was that some of California’s business community supported it. He began tipping his support toward the bill after a delegation of executives from Silicon Valley last week told him many businesses wanted the bill as a way to provide them regulatory certainty and for other reasons, say lobbyists in the statehouse.

Felix is an entrepreneur with a life-long green streak. He enjoys communicating his enthusiasm about what is new, unique, and significant. He is the founder of CalCars.org, The California Cars Initiative, and has been promoting 100+ MPG plug-in hybrids full-time since 2001. He posts his own selection of significant developments for PHEVs at the CalCars News Archive. His first entry at Hybrid Cars, Car Owners Strap into the Drivers Seat, in August 2005, expressed his view that the industrial world is in the midst of a major change — hopefully, it is not too late!