Screengrab via PopTech
Despite the ridiculous smears on Van Jones by right wing pundits like Glenn Beck last year (which, in hindsight, make sense: he understands climate change, he's in favor of getting the US on track towards clean energy, and is a staunch advocate for the poor and social justice -- in other words, a perfect target for certain cable television personalities), he remains one of the best organizers and proponents for a clean economy out there. And right now, the most important political fight for clean energy and climate action is in California, where Proposition 23 threatens to topple the state's forward-looking emissions-reduction law. Van Jones recently spoke out on the oil industry-funded, Tea Party-led campaign to kill the climate law -- video is after the jump.
The part Jones mentions about the influence of the brothers Koch is not any sort of exaggeration -- Koch Industries, which runs a wide array of coal, oil, and other emissions-heavy industries across the country, is attempting to exert its influence in California. As the Wonk Room notes, the Americans for Prosperity, one of the main Tea Party groups, was founded and is financially supported by Koch. The group has been the primary force in staging support for Proposition 23, which would effectively shut down the climate law. Koch also funds think tanks like the Pacific Research Foundation, which produce junk studies that bash climate action.
In addition, Texas oil companies Valero and Texaco have dumped at least $1 million into campaigns to kill the law, AB 32, which was passed and signed into law by governor Schwarzenegger in 2006, and pushes California to reduce its emissions to 1990 levels.
All in all -- Jones is right. AB 32 will give California's growing clean energy industry a major shot in the arm, helping to give the state (and the nation) a leg up in one of the major industries of the near future. It will create good, new jobs, and, of course, reduce emissions in the process. Fortunately, voters seem to know this, and have so far opposed Prop 23. But expect Koch and the oil companies to up the ante and further open their wallets the closer we get to November.