California carbon market at risk amid opposition

Political unrest and general disagreement between climate experts and business leaders is threatening to take the California emissions program under before it’s really begun, according to Consumer Energy Report.

Rich Pedroncelli/AP/File
Dorothy Rothrock, of the California Manufacturers & Technology Association, urged members of the California Air Resources Board to reconsider the state's pending cap-and-trade program for carbon emissions during a hearing in Sacramento, Calif., in this September 2012 file photo.

A combination of legal threats, growing political opposition and changes to the rules that govern it is seeing California carbon trading at records lows, bringing the very concept of the market into question.

The emissions program, started by state lawmakers following the federal government’s failure to implement a carbon-purchase system of its own in 2010, has suddenly become the second largest in the world, behind only that of the European Union, promising to cover no less than 85 percent of emissions in California that result from the many companies behind its $1.74 trillion per year economy. (Read More: Global Carbon Dioxide Emissions — Facts and Figures)

Unfortunately, political unrest and general disagreement between climate experts and business leaders is threatening to take the program under before it’s really begun. With only one week remaining before the first allowance sale, one CEO has accused the regulations of being completely taken over by academics and extremists who do not have a finger on the pulse of the business world, leading some to threaten to bring lawsuits against the state if they continue to unfairly govern trade. 

“Any time there’s a whisper or threat of a lawsuit, it puts a damper on folks’ thinking about when to start in this market,” said Harold Pestana, a senior manager at Pacific Gas & Electric Company in San Francisco. “There’s a general sense now that there may not be as many people participating in the auction. There’s a wait-and-see attitude.” (Read more: U.S. Energy Related Carbon Emissions Declined in 4 of Last 6 years)

While the details will be hammered out in the coming weeks and months by regulators, the plan itself will see California “cap” carbon emissions in the common sense, requiring the purchase and trading-in of carbon permits by companies in order to justify their pollution output. Unused credits are allowed to be bought and sold between companies, creating a market in and of itself that the state hopes will help it to lower overall emissions by 15 percent by the year 2020.

Source: California Carbon Market at Risk Amid Opposition

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.

QR Code to California carbon market at risk amid opposition
Read this article in
https://www.csmonitor.com/Environment/Energy-Voices/2012/1112/California-carbon-market-at-risk-amid-opposition
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today
https://www.csmonitor.com/subscribe