Jerry Brown calls state's global warming law the key difference between him, Meg Whitman

By Ken McLaughlin and Paul Rogers - San Jose Mercury News

Calling the issue the defining difference between himself and Republican Meg Whitman in the governor's race, Democrat Jerry Brown gave an impassioned defense Thursday of California's landmark global warming law.

In a wide-ranging interview with the Mercury News editorial board, the attorney general called Assembly Bill 32 — now under attack by conservatives and some business interests as a job killer — "a path forward" for the Golden State. Brown said the new law would create hundreds of thousands of clean-energy jobs, reclaiming from China leadership of the cleantech economy.

"This is a powerful future," Brown said. "I see this as the key" to job creation.

Whitman, the former CEO of eBay, has called for a one-year moratorium on implementation of the law, which is due to take effect in 2012. Her stance puts her on the opposite side of many Silicon Valley companies, including eBay.

"While she supports the goals of AB 32, she also believes we must fix its implementation so each regulation is fully analyzed based on careful economic and environmental review," Whitman spokeswoman Sarah Pompei said.

Brown on Thursday also weighed in on Sacramento gridlock, the state's staggering costs for employee pensions and the influence of special interests in crafting legislation. And he reiterated a willingness to release 10 years of tax returns if Whitman does too.

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