Connecting the Dots Between Global Warming Bill and Health of Those Exposed to Carbon-Based Gases
by Franke James
California Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez, the man behind the new Global Warming Solutions Act, gave a powerful speech on Sept.8th to National Latino Congreso, the first major summit of Latino leaders and community members. His speech connected the dots between the Global Warming Bill and the health of those exposed to carbon-based gases.
Nunez said that Latinos, many of whom live in the inner cities, are especially vulnerable to the effects of carbon-based gases (from industries), which not only impact the environment but public health. The Global Warming Bill is the first-of-it’s-kind legislation in the United States. It establishes regulations that will phase in a 25% cut in carbon dioxide emissions from the state’s five largest emitters by 2020. That cut will bring carbon emissions down to 1990 levels. California is the world’s twelfth largest emitter of global warming causing greenhouse gases. Nunez said, “And it’s one of the few times in my career I’ll be proud of California going backward.”
Below is his speech, reproduced in full:
A Thoughtful Speech by California Assembly Speaker Nunez
What a great honor it is for me to address this gathering of Latino leaders from all over the country — community activists, elected officials and so many others.I have to admit to feeling a little proud today.
After all, I’m the Latino Speaker of the Assembly in America’s nation-state. The 6th largest economy in the world.I represent a city that has both portentous old Latino history and a dynamic new Latino Mayor.But most of all I am proud because I come here fresh from having worked to make real and bold progress on the issue that brings us here today. Global climate change. Earlier this year, Assemblymember Fran Pavley, a leader in the global warming fight, approached me about helping her with her Assembly Bill 32, or what became known as the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006.It was a challenging situation. Of course, I was personally eager to help. My 15-year old daughter had even asked me about what I could do about global warming.
Now, I was given a chance to do something.
But there was a risk in getting involved.
As Speaker, if I decided this was a priority for me, the dynamics changed.
The bill would be a source of increased scrutiny.
Some supporters and opponents would try and leverage advantage if it was known that the global warming bill was in fact the speaker’s bill.
In the end, none of that mattered.
What the bill would accomplish mattered.
The Global Warming Solutions Act is first-of-it’s-kind legislation in the United States.
It establishes regulations that will phase in a 25 percent cut in carbon dioxide emissions from the state’s five largest emitters by 2020.
That cut will bring carbon emissions down to 1990 levels. That’s a strong start for California, since we are the world’s twelfth largest emitter of global warming causing greenhouse gases.
And it’s one of the few times in my career I’ll be proud of California going backward.
I’m excited to tell you leaders from all over the country what we’re doing here in California to slow climate change. Because I know our success means you can do it too.
And that not only means better health for our planet, it also means more jobs and opportunities in our communities as we develop the green technologies
to combat climate change.
If I can, I want to diverge a minute into some inside baseball — which, to be fair, if you weren’t really good at, you probably wouldn’t be here today.
For a long time the image of an environmentalist in California was a stereotypical brie-eating Chardonnay sipping Volvo driving Marin county-ite.
The real people behind that stereotype made some huge differences. The Coastal Commission. The Endangered Species Act. CEQA.
But there were other issues that affected people who wouldn’t commonly be known as environmentalists.
There aren’t a lot of brownfields in Marin. There aren’t a lot of polluting factories in Malibu. Kids in the Central Valley get asthma more than the kids on the central coast.
One of my strong hopes for AB 32, with the broad support that has come out behind this bill, is that we are witnessing if not the birth, the maturity of a coalition between Latino leaders and communities and environmental advocates and communities that will impact policy for years to come.
There’s a bumper sticker you’ve probably all seen: think globally. act locally.
If anything, AB 32 and the coalition we’ve built around it shows we can do both.
And I hope each of you will be part of that coalition and part of that change and part of the future our communities deserve.
Thank you again for the honor of speaking here today.
From the 2006 California Progress Report