California Voters Reject Proposition 23 to Suspend GHG-Reduction Law
November 8, 2010

Glass manufacturers in California could soon feel the effects of a recent statewide vote relating to greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions. Last week voters rejected Proposition 23, which would have suspended implementation of A.B.32, the state's GHG-reduction law, until state unemployment was at or below 5.5 percent for four consecutive quarters. A.B.32 was signed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2006 and sets GHG-reduction targets of reducing emissions to 1990 levels by 2020.

A.B. 32 can be likened to the state's own version of cap and trade, setting limits on the amounts of GHG emissions that manufacturers, such as float glass companies, can produce. Critics of A.B.32 say the new regulations will increase energy costs by billions of dollars and destroy more than a million jobs. They claimed Proposition 23 would have suspended those new rules until the economy improves and unemployment drops.

The reduction of carbon emissions has been a topic of much discussion for many, including float glass producers. Robert Joyce, director of government affairs for Guardian Industries, says his company supports efforts to reduce carbon emissions.

"In fact, Guardian has reduced the total carbon emissions of its float plant in California during the past five years by more than one third," said Joyce. "In addition, we manufacture advanced, energy-efficient glass products that dramatically reduce both heating and cooling costs, as well as related carbon emissions, for residential and commercial buildings throughout the state. We are working closely with the California Air Resources Board on a solution for the float glass industry to ensure it can remain competitive."

He adds, though, that California needs to avoid a future in which higher energy and regulatory costs force more manufacturers to leave the state and move offshore to markets that lack controls on emissions.

"This outcome would have a negative economic impact and only lead to higher total worldwide emissions levels," says Joyce.

National cap-and-trade legislation, the American Clean Energy & Security Act passed the House of Representatives in 2009, but Senate Democratic leaders decided this past July to halt those efforts.

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