Carly Fiorina’s Weird, Self-Defeating Stance on Climate

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California is indisputably the nation’s leading creator of “green jobs.” According to the state’s Employment Development Department, 500,000 people work in the state’s clean tech sector. It’s one of the few parts of the state economy that’s actually growing, thanks in large part to the way that the state’s cap-and-trade law, AB 32, is driving demand for solar panels, cleaner fuels, and more efficient homes. The law is backed by everyone from Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, which includes Hewlett-Packard. All of which is to underscore the weirdness of this morning’s press release from HP’s former CEO, GOP senate candidate Carly Fiorina, trashing cap-and-trade and federal green jobs funding.

“To be clear, we’re for jobs of any kind,” Fiorina’s press release says, before going on to complain that the federal government set aside $80 billion in stimulus funding for green jobs without clearly defining what constitutes a green job. It was apparently unacceptable that the Obama administration and state officials were given discretion over the money. Fiorina then complains that her opponent, Senator Barbara Boxer, “hasn’t provided much specifics about the so-called green jobs that she’s talked so much about.”

From there, Fiorina pivots to the issue of federal cap and trade legislation, claiming that it would have been “the equivalent of a 15 percent personal income tax hike and could have cost as many as 1 million jobs per year.” Of course, both figures are completley bogus. The tax hike claim is based on the total cost of emissions permits, most of which would be recycled back through the economy. The number comes from the Competitive Enterprise Institute, which has received more than $2 million from ExxonMobil and its foundations since 1998. And the jobs figure comes from the Tax Foundation, a cog in Koch Industries’ vast climate disinformation machine. In 2008, Fiorina herself said that John McCain’s cap-and-trade plan would “both create jobs and lower the cost of energy.”

Going on the attack against cap and trade is a peculiar political strategy in California, where a recent Reuters poll found that most voters believe AB 32 will “drive investment in green technology and create jobs.” But then, Fiorina is a peculiar candidate: She has accepted more than $60,000 from out-of-state coal interests. The latest poll shows her earning 40 percent of likely votes to Boxer’s 45.

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