Tag Archives: cap and trade

Cap and trade: Deal reached on California climate program

Katy Murphy, THE SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS

Gov. Jerry Brown and top lawmakers late Monday announced a proposal to extend through the next decade California’s landmark program to regulate climate-warming greenhouse gases — known as cap and trade — which is set to expire in 2020.

Also unveiled late Monday was a separate bill to clean up the air in chronically polluted areas — to reduce harmful emissions from factories and plants as well as from cars and trucks.

“The Legislature is taking action to curb climate change and protect vulnerable communities from industrial poisons,” Brown said in a statement released late Monday night.

The two bills were revealed after weeks of talks between Brown, Republican and Democratic lawmakers and environmental and industry groups.

Lawmakers won’t be able to vote on the proposals before Thursday because of a ballot measure Californians passed in November requiring a bill to be in print for 72 hours before the state Assembly or Senate can vote on it. The bills are:

Assembly Bill 398 — for which Brown and legislative leaders aim to secure a two-thirds vote — would extend the cap-and-trade program to 2031.

Assembly Bill 617, which needs only a simple majority vote to pass, responds to activists’ demands to clean up the pollution that for generations has plagued residents in parts of the state. It would require oil refineries and other plants in heavily polluted areas to replace their equipment with cleaner technology by the end of 2023.

Among the proposed changes to the complex cap-and-trade program — in which refineries, power plants and factories pay to pollute, buying permits at auction — is a hard limit, or “ceiling,” on the price of carbon. Proponents of the change argue that it would prevent spikes in energy prices.

Read more at: Cap and trade: Deal reached on California climate program

Filed under Climate Change & Energy

Poll finds Californians back climate change efforts despite cost 

Jeremy B. White, THE SACRAMENTO BEE

Climate change policies appeal to a majority of Californians despite the possibility of higher energy costs, a new Public Policy Institute of California poll has found.

“Californians tend to have a hesitancy to support policies that are going to impact their pocketbooks, but in this case they seem to be willing to do so,” said PPIC president Mark Baldassare, calling the findings an endorsement of “the direction (the state) has taken in the last ten years to be a leader in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”

Environmentalists laud California for its ambitious efforts to fight climate change, and Gov. Jerry Brown has placed the issue at the center of his fourth-term agenda. Last year Brown signed a measure vastly expanding the state’s use of renewable energy.

But the road ahead for California’s cap-and-trade program, which requires businesses to buy permits for the carbon they emit, has become unclear. A recent auction reaped a comparatively tiny amount of revenue. Its legal foundation has come under question. And the program sunsets in 2020, spurring politically fraught efforts to extend it.

Those headwinds notwithstanding, California residents still support cap-and-trade (54 percent) and the underlying goal of reducing greenhouse gases, according to the poll. Around two-thirds of likely voters (62 percent) back the goal of reducing emissions to their 1990 levels by 2020, a target that is central to cap-and-trade’s mission. Helping explain that support are the large majorities (81 percent of adults and 75 percent of likely voters) who called climate change a serious threat.

Read more at: Poll finds Californians back climate change efforts despite cost | The Sacramento Bee

Filed under Climate Change & Energy

How California’s cap-and-trade program for carbon emissions works

Guy Kovner, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

California’s cap-and-trade program, established by the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, promotes the state’s goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. The program created one of the largest carbon credit markets in the world and one of two in the United States.

It sets a collective emissions cap on about 450 of the state’s largest polluters, including power generators, refineries and cement plants, which emit more than 25,000 tons of greenhouse gases a year, and requires them to obtain an allowance or a carbon offset for their emissions. The cap and the pool of allowances decline each year, while offsets — based on projects that sequester carbon in forests, for example — can cover up to 8 percent of their emissions.

The program also sets up a complex protocol for forest owners to establish offsets they can sell to polluters subject to the cap. Each offset represents 1 metric ton of greenhouse gas removed from the atmosphere by trees, which must be sustained for 100 years.

Source: How California’s cap-and-trade program for carbon emissions works | The Press Democrat

Filed under Air, Climate Change & Energy, Forests

Under California cap-and-trade program, North Coast forests turn carbon uptake into cash

Guy Kovner, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

They say money doesn’t grow on trees, but a nearly 75,000-acre swath of redwood and fir forests blanketing the wildlands of Sonoma and Mendocino counties is generating millions of dollars as it contributes to California’s ambitious campaign to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

In a reversal of forest profiteering that dates back to the mid-1800s, the trees are making landowners money by staying upright and growing fast on damp coastal hills where vegetation thrives and few humans set foot.

The Conservation Fund, a Virginia-based nonprofit, has since 2008 sold more than $36 million worth of a new forest commodity called carbon credits, also known as carbon offsets, which represent 4 million metric tons of greenhouse gases sequestered, or stored, by forests that in turn must be sustained for 100 years.

The Conservation Fund’s forests are among the top two or three producers of forest-based carbon offsets in California’s carbon cap-and-trade program, said Chris Kelly, California program director for the group.

More than $2 million in credits have already sold for the former Preservation Ranch, a 19,645-acre property in northwestern Sonoma County that once was the focus of an intense environmental controversy.

Purchased by the fund for $24.5 million in public and private funding in 2013 — in the largest conservation deal by acreage in county history — the ranch, renamed Buckeye Forest, is forever protected against a future that once included a proposed 1,800 acre forest-to-vineyard conversion. Those plans aroused environmentalists’ anger and would have eliminated more than 300,000 trees.

Read more at: Under California cap-and-trade program, North Coast forests turn | The Press Democrat

Filed under Air, Climate Change & Energy, Forests, Land Use

Steinberg scraps plan to replace carbon market with tax on fuels

Rory Carroll, REUTERS

A top Democratic lawmaker in California on Monday backed off an unpopular plan to tax gasoline and diesel fuels and instead proposed a less controversial plan to spend up to $5 billion a year from the state’s fledgling carbon program on affordable housing and mass transit.

California Senate leader Darrell Steinberg proposed building affordable housing near transit hubs, repairing state roads and highways, and helping fund mass transit projects including Democratic Governor Jerry Brown’s beleaguered high-speed rail project.

His plan also calls for returning a portion of the money collected by the state from the sale of carbon permits to California’s drivers, who are expected to see gasoline prices jump by about 12 cents a gallon next year when the state’s greenhouse gas reduction program expands to cover distributors of transport fuels.

via California lawmaker scraps plan to replace carbon market with tax on fuels – Yahoo News.

Filed under Climate Change & Energy, Transportation