Schwarzenegger touts California as green jobs hub

California can boost its economy while improving the environment if the state sticks by its law to reduce carbon emissions, said a panel of business and government leaders assembled at UC Davis on Wednesday to discuss the notion that the Sacramento region could become a hub for green jobs.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger used the forum as an opportunity to stump for his signature environmental law, known as AB 32, which is being challenged on the November ballot.

"We have to do everything we can to fight back and push back those greedy companies and make sure we protect our environmental laws," he said to a standing-room-only crowd of entrepreneurs, politicians and academics.

A group of Texas oil companies is backing a ballot initiative that would suspend AB 32 until unemployment drops below 5.5 percent for four consecutive quarters.

AB 32 requires the state to cut carbon emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, or about 15 percent. Opponents say it will be a job killer.

Schwarzenegger said policies pushing environmental sustainability are actually driving innovation and creating jobs.

Green jobs grew by 36 percent between 1995 and 2008 in California, according to a Bay Area think tank called Next 10.

That figure compares with an increase of 13 percent for all jobs in the state.

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