Judge sides with supporters of California climate bill rollback

A state judge today ordered the attorney general's office to change its wording of a ballot initiative to roll back the state's landmark climate change law.

Sacramento Superior Court Judge Timothy Frawley agreed with measure proponents charging that California Attorney General Jerry Brown used misleading language when his office drafted the initiative, Proposition 23.

Frawley said use of the term "major polluters" in election materials carried negative connotations with voters and ordered Brown's office to use the less loaded term "major sources of emissions."

Frawley also said the state inaccurately described the proposition as "abandoning" California's climate change law, or AB 32, and ordered it to substitute the term "suspends."

"My concern is that the word 'polluters' suggests something that comes out of a smokestack. That's where the prejudice lies," Frawley said.

Proposition 23 seeks to suspend California's global greenhouse gas reduction law until the statewide unemployment rate drops to 5.5 percent for a year. Supporters of the measure say AB 32, which aims to reduce carbon emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, will lead to job losses and higher energy costs.

But opponents of Proposition 23, including Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, environmental groups, high-tech companies and venture capital firms, say AB 32 not only will reduce greenhouse gases but will bolster a growing clean tech industry and will create new jobs.

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