What Does California's Global Warming Act Mean for Utilities?

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As the November elections inch closer, the debate over California's Proposition 23 continues to heat up. If enacted, the proposition would suspend the Global Warming Act of 2006 (aka AB 32), a piece of clean air legislation that requires greenhouse gas emission levels in the state to be cut to 1990 levels by 2020. And like it or not, utilities and other large energy-users are preparing for the reality that Prop. 23 will fail and AB 32 will remain in place.

According to Larry Goldenhersh, founder and CEO of environmental compliance management company Enviance, customers like PG&E, Valero, and Sempra are already working on getting their carbon footprints in line. "Companies that need to deal with reality of cap and trade understand that to preserve competitiveness in this market they need to have an understanding of their footprint today." In many cases, that understanding requires software similar to what Enviance provides--a cloud-based system that automates emissions compliance management.

"Companies need systems like Enviance to achieve compliance in a cost-effective way," Goldenhersh explains. "Our system allows companies to create a greenhouse gas footprint that's dialed down with enough detail to allow for capital decisions."

Propsition 23 hasn't increased demand for Enviance's software, and Goldenhersh is confident that the bill won't hurt the company's business if it passes. But if it fails, the demand for emissions compliance software will undoubtedly increase. "If Prop 23 fails and isn't suspended by the next governor, we will have cap and trade as federal policy and rule by 2012," Goldenhersh says. And if that happens, energy-intensive companies across the U.S. will be racing to track their emissions.

Ariel Schwartz can be reached on Twitter or by email.

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  • Earl Richards

    The California Jobs Initiative (CJI) is an oil corporation farce and fraud.There is no connection, whatsoever, between greenhouse gas emission reduction and the loss of jobs. This notion is an insult to the intelligence of the people of California. In fact, there is job growth in the clean, renewable energy industry. Chevron employs 65,000 worldwide and CJI is not going to change this. The only jobs created by the oil industry are clean-up jobs after oil spills and deep water, blow-outs and pump-handler jobs. CJI will make fantastic profits for the oil industry, increase air pollution, especially in communities around their refineries, and there will not be lower gas prices. Koch Industries, Valero and Tesoro are super Enrons. Since when did the oil companies start to show any concern for the unemployed and their families and for small businesses?