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California Decries Federal Climate Change Reversal, Cap-And-Trade Yields Big Return

ribarnica / Flickr

ribarnica / Flickr

California environmental regulators officially pushed back against the planned repeal of President Obama’s most sweeping climate change rule.

Officials from the California Environmental Protection Agency, Air Resources Board, state utilities commission, and Natural Resources Agency testified in San Francisco on Wednesday to oppose repeal of the Clean Power Plan.

Courtney Smith of the California Energy Commission described the plan for each state to limit carbon emissions as achievable, and without hurting the economy.

“We reached our 2030 target back in 2014,” Smith said. “Meaning that the most populous state in the union will be in compliance more than 15 years early.”

Opponents, including the Trump administration, contend the plan is a federal overreach that would raise energy prices and hurt coal jobs.

The Supreme Court has ruled that the U.S. EPA has authority to regulate greenhouse gases, but it suspended the Clean Power Plan from taking effect while courts considered the legality of the complex, sweeping regulation.

Cap-And-Trade Continues Booming Returns

The latest results from California’s signature climate change program are in, and they show a third straight sellout.

The state cap-and-trade program turns greenhouse gas emissions into a commodity — businesses must obtain a credit for each ton of carbon they will emit. The sellout at the latest quarterly auction of credits means the state will get about $700 million for clean energy programs and the high-speed rail project.

This was also the first auction since the Canadian province of Ontario linked its cap-and-trade program with California and Quebec’s, with no apparent hiccups.

But, some environmental groups have a concern — businesses are buying more credits than they need, suggesting that they’re stocking up now when prices are low and credits are numerous, to continue a higher level of emissions in the future, when the state plans to cut.

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