Sierra Club calls for re-evaluation of cap-and-trade rule

By CMTA Staff

Capitol Update, May 20, 2011 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

In a recent letter to Governor Jerry Brown, Sierra Club California has called on Brown to re-evaluate California’s Air Resources Board’s (CARB’s) cap-and-trade rule claiming it has serious flaws that will limit its effectiveness in reducing emissions and generating green jobs.  The Sierra Club also called into question the plan’s compliance with the environmental justice requirements of AB 32.

Last December, CARB adopted the cap-and-trade program as a key component in reducing carbon emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 under AB 32.  The program places limitations on the amount of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions a company can emit, but allows companies to either purchase or trade emissions credits with other companies to produce emissions over the set limit.

The Sierra Club argues that the provisions give the majority of free emission credits to the largest polluters and allows companies to outsource emission reductions, which are counterproductive to the goals of AB 32.  Ultimately, they believe that a more stringent cap-and-trade rule is necessary to meet the goals of AB 32 while encouraging innovation and creating green jobs for the State.

The Sierra Club fails to factor into their analysis the fact that California is going it alone with cap and trade, and that any additional costs will expose California industries to competition from other states not burdened with those costs.   This could cause AB 32 to fail on three fronts: increasing emissions of greenhouse gases in states subject to less stringent environmental regulations, reducing job growth due to uncompetitive cost pressures and uncertain future costs, and less ability to afford and support the development of cutting-edge, more expensive technologies.

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