Economists against Prop 23

As Ann has reported, California’s global warming law, AB 32, is under attack. Proposition 23 on the November ballot would suspend AB 32 until unemployment in the state falls below 5.5% for four consecutive quarters (currently, unemployment in California is over 12%). Opponents of environmental regulation often argue that too much regulation kills jobs and the economy. Certainly that’s the primary argument of the pro-Prop 23 camp, which calls the proposition the “California Jobs Initiative.” But not all economists agree. The Union of Concerned Scientists has released an open letter in which 117  “Ph.D. economists who live or work in California or who have expertise related to California issues or climate and energy issues” argue against suspending AB 32.

An excerpt from the letter:

Delaying action now and waiting for the future before initiating accelerated action to reduce global warming gases will be more costly than initiating action now. Acting now is more likely to limit further environmental degradation, lower the cost of mitigation, and spur innovation in renewable energy and conservation technologies. Furthermore, policies that reduce global warming pollution are likely to provide immediate benefi ts to the health and welfare of residents by reducing local pollutants.

(Hat tip: Climate Progress.)