Why Prop 7 Wouldn’t Have Been Enough
by Robin Garnham


It appears that California is very proud of its green credentials. It has a long history of environmental activism and some of the most beautiful national parks in the world. However on November 4, Californians voted no on Proposition 7, an initiative to increase the percentage of electricity that is produced from renewable energy sources.

While the issues that were covered by proposition 7, and the solutions that it proposed are still important, it never was a big enough step. It proposed that by 2025, 50 percent of California’s power should be generated from renewable energy sources. California is one of the most progressive places in the world in terms of environmental issues, but even so, this step would have done little toward trying to avert what is a potential global catastrophe.

It is clear that much more needs to be done to make any kind of significant impact, certainly much more than Proposition 7 called for. Whether action is taken or not, a crisis is coming. On the one hand, the drastic actions that need to be taken to tackle the problem of climate change would mean a huge reduction in the production and consumption of consumable products; it would mean a significant down scaling of the world economy. On the other hand, if global warming continues without any kind of attempted remedy, then an economic crisis would be triggered by the decimation of the world’s delicate ecology and climate. Whether you subscribe to the global warming thesis or not, it is clear that we are headed for an unprecedented global crisis within the next century; natural resources, especially natural gas and crude oil, on which the world depends, are dwindling, and the population is rising exponentially.

A workable solution to the problem will have to go far beyond what was laid out in Proposition 7; it will have to be more radical than anything proposed by any government. The real problem is the people – they will not do the things that are necessary for change. The people that are able to make a difference through their actions are the ones that are most able to cope with change, and so have the least incentive to act. It is the people, and the countries that are least prepared that will suffer the most, something that is illustrated by the ongoing world food crisis.

There is very little point in taking half-hearted action, like proposition 7, against climate change; its impact would have been marginal. It is comparable to trying to put out a raging house fire with a water pistol. The word needs to decide take action, and take drastic action now, otherwise its house will burn.