For the third time in four quarters, California’s most prominent program to fight climate change brought in a fraction of the revenue state officials projected.
Under the cap-and-trade program, companies must purchase pollution credits that allow their emissions. But results released Wednesday show the latest quarterly auction of those credits generated about $8 million—far less than the half-billion dollars the state typically expects.
Lawmakers use cap-and-trade revenue to fund clean energy programs and high-speed rail.
The weak results may be a symptom of uncertainty about the program’s future. Businesses may be holding off on purchasing credits until it’s clear the program will continue past a 2020 expiration date, as well as a legal challenge.
At the same time, companies still need to buy credits if they’re emitting greenhouse gases. A lack of interest could go along with reductions in emissions that have outpaced expectations.
Auction Results (in millions):