The Rap: California Assembly Bill 32,

aka The Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006.

Last month I worked as a citizen outreach staff member for the Fund for Public Interest Research Group (they signed my checks), and what that means is I went door-to-door trying to build public support (read: get donations/new members) for Environment California, the largest environmental organization in the state.

The following is the spiel, or what the organization branded as ‘The Rap,’ that we memorized (picture a sun-beaten yet smiling face at your door anytime from 4 pm to 9 pm):

Hi, how are you?
(Wait for answer)
Great. My name is *your name*, and I’m with Environment California. We’re working RIGHT NOW to fight global warming.
You probably realize that California is especially vulnerable to the impacts of global warming. Among other things, rising sea levels threaten our coastline, and a decreasing snow pack in the Sierras threatens our drinking water supply.
The Bush Administration refuses to act, so we’re working on state legislation that will cut global warming pollution from cars and power plants by half. (California is the world’s 12th-largest source of global warming pollution, so this will make a HUGE difference).
We can make this happen if we continue to build a lot of public support, and that’s why I’m here today.
Take a look at this.
(Hand over the clipboard that you were holding that contains more information/new member forms)
This is our statement of support, and it outlines our work.
The BEST way for you to support this effort tonight is to become a member of Environment California. You can do this through our monthly giving program, or with a one-time contribution. Monthly giving is better for us because it keeps our costs down and gives us ongoing support, but either way is great. The IMPORTANT thing is that you give as generously as you can, so we can keep getting results!

Now doesn’t that just make you want to give anywhere from $30-50 a month to this organization? Oh, you’re not conviced? Well, may I ask, are you with us on this issue? You are? Great, well let me show you why it’s so important for anyone who does agree with us on this issue to get involved TONIGHT.

OK, the best part of it, the ‘state legislation’:
It is a state assembly bill co-authored by Assemblywoman Pavley and Assembly Speaker Nunez (both from the Los Angeles area). It targets all global warming pollution in the state, not just from cars and light trucks, but from industrial sources like power plants. Power plant sources include cement plants, oil refineries, natural gas refineries, electric utilities, and others. It’ll be a first for not only the state but the nation, as there are no such strict caps on pollution from non-mobile sources in any other state.

Its goals are to reduce global warming pollution emissions by 25% by 2020 and 75% by 2050, goals that our beloved (??) and crazy-assed governor himself has publicly and repeatedly stated.

How it’ll get these goals: The bill instructs the California Environmental Protection Agency to set mandatory caps on emissions to reach these goals. It also instructs Cal/EPA to create a mandatory reporting system on these emissions, and if the sources fail to stay under the caps then they will be subject to fines and other penalties, fines and penalties that Cal/EPA must create as authorized by AB 32.

Phew. I said this spiel a lot in a month, and I wasn’t even there the longest nor certainly I wasn’t the best. But still, it was worthwhile, important work, at times very difficult but that just made it more important. Needless to say I will continue looking into the bill, supporting it any way I can, and as soon as I can afford it I will become a member of Environment California. Yeah, color me converted.

This issue has a laundry list of other implications both great and horrible that require a lengthier stanza, which mayhaps be approaching as the end of summer itself.

Be well all, because,
you are the light that travels into space