(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) -- In an election cycle filled with fighting words on climate change, a ballot measure in California could set the precedent for the rest of the country and give a needed boost to Democrats who have unsuccessfully tried to pass a comprehensive energy bill.
Proposition 23 would suspend California's Global Warming Act of 2006 until unemployment in the state drops to 5.5 percent or below for four consecutive quarters. The clean air law was signed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and calls for greenhouse gas emissions to be cut to 1990 levels by 2020. Regulations capping emissions will begin to be fully implemented in 2012, unless the initiative passes.
Opposition to the controversial ballot measure has surged in recent weeks, led by celebrities and heavyweights like Bill Gates and Google's Sergey Brin.
A recent poll by the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) shows 48 percent of likely voters in the state oppose the initiative, compared to 37 percent who support it. The measure has been labeled the "Dirty Energy Prop" by its opponents because of the support it has received from oil companies and conservatives like the Koch brothers.
GOP gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman has said she will vote against Proposition 23, but still plans to suspend the global warming law if she's elected. But the state's other high-profile Republican candidate, Carly Fiorina, has called the ballot measure "a band-aid fix and an imperfect solution."
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