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Next Climate Change Political Battle: Cleaner Fuels


This week, California’s key climate change program known as cap-and-trade was extended another decade. Now Governor Jerry Brown’s administration is turning its attention to extending another key greenhouse gas reduction program. 

California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard is intended to clean up emissions from cars and trucks. The regulation requires a 10 percent reduction in the carbon content of fuels by 2020.

While the oil industry reluctantly supported cap-and-trade, it’s fighting the extension of the Low Carbon Fuel Standard. The industry says the program is duplicative and costly to consumers.

“We are concerned about the additional costs that will put on top of the cap-and-trade program, which is on top of the additional gas tax and diesel tax,” says Catherine Reheis-Boyd with the Western States Petroleum Association.

But the Brown administration contends that the cap-and-trade program and the Low Carbon Fuel Standard are complimentary programs, not duplicative. 

“We don’t see it as duplicative because this has a very specific goal and that is to drive innovation in the development of clean and alternative fuels,” says Stanley Young with the California Air Resources Board.

Young says the program has resulted in a 2.6 percent reduction in the carbon content of fuels so far, which is on target.

The air board will decide on the program’s extension early next year.

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