Clearing the confusion: Proposition 23

||Read about how proponents and opponents think Prop 23 will affect the economy, household costs, employment, businesses, and the environment. Information compiled from the League of Women Voters of California's website at

Scroll over each icon to find out more about Proposition 23.

The November ballot’s Proposition 23, addressing state law and greenhouse gas emissions, is one of those confusingly structured California ballot measures in which voting yes means no, and vice versa.  This interactive graphic provides a quick guide to some of the pro and con arguments and predicted effects of this controversial proposition.

Voting yes on Prop 23 means temporarily suspending (saying no to, that is) Assembly Bill 32. That state legislation, also called AB 32 and the Global Warming Solutions Act, was signed into law in 2006 by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.  According to the California Air Resources Board, AB 32’s goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, by the year 2020, to the levels of those in 1990—427 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent gases. AB 32 would be suspended until California’s unemployment rate drops to 5.5 percent or lower for an entire year.  According to statistics from the US Bureau of Labor, that hasn’t happened since 2006. California’s current employment rate is currently more than 12 percent.

If Prop 23 does not pass, all of AB 32’s requirements will take full effect on January 1, 2012, according to the Air Resources Board’s website. Those requirements include mandating power utilities to attain 33 percent of their electricity from renewable energy sources—such as wind and solar energy, and putting a limit on emissions for significant sources of greenhouse gases.

If Prop 23 is defeated, thus keeping AB 32 in effect, the California Air Resources Board would be required to incorporate whatever changes and regulations are necessary to reach the 1990 emissions level, which amounts to about a 25 percent decrease from current levels of greenhouse gas emissions. That will include a cap-and-trade program, in which large producers of greenhouse gases will be given a cap on their emissions levels and required to buy emissions allowances from businesses that have not reached their cap.

To find out more about Prop 23, visit the website of nonpartisan organization Project Vote Smart.

Check out all of our Oakland elections coverage on our Campaign 2010 page.

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