California Cap and Trade: Climate Problems Solved?


By | Ciara Emery

As hundreds of bills sit on Governor Jerry Brown’s Desk for signature at the end of this legislative session, a cap and trade extension prevails as a win…for some.

A ten-year extension to California’s landmark carbon market was approved in the middle of July this year—four years after its initial passage in 2013.

California’s carbon market consists of caps on carbon emissions to certain sectors of the economy and includes the ability to trade allowances to meet emissions targets. These targets get smaller every year.

The idea is simple: industries and businesses that remain under their emissions limits will be awarded with extra income from the sale of their extra allowances. Industries that are not under their emissions limits will be penalized with the extra costs of their pollution.

This market-method of climate change mitigation is a bipartisan step forward on the path towards sustainability—with a few hiccups that is.

While several assembly Republicans in California voted for the measure, it was far from bipartisan. No more than one month after the vote, Republicans ousted the Assembly Republican Caucus Leader, Chad Mayes, in an upset party vote. His discretion? Allowing eight caucus members to side with Democrats in favor of the measure.

Republicans argue that concessions such as these allow Democratic legislators off the hook on tough votes. Three Democrats, including Assemblyman Mark Stone who represents the cities of Santa Cruz and Monterey, were able to vote no and avoid any wrath from tough districts.

Republicans would also like to fall in line with national GOP stances and oppose the measure for its seemingly anti-business policies and tax-like features.

While this debate rages on the right, the same amount of conflict has risen on the left.

Environmental justice advocates largely find this extension a loss for low-income communities and communities of color. These communities are overwhelmingly more impacted by pollution from the sale of extra allowances than more affluent communities in California.

While several initiatives attempt to respond to this inequality (AB 617 also passed this session, which attempts to address issues of air quality), large scale problems persist.

California is continuously hailed as a national leader for Climate Change policy. In many cases, we act with fervor where others do not. But we still have significant conflicts to grapple with.

California Republicans must figure out which side of history their party wants to stand on. Democrats need to commit to environmental justice concerns. The climate should not be better for some, it needs to be better for all.

Share This Post

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on email
Share on reddit

More Stories

Photo by Abraham Navarro | Cowboy Daddy's Drummer and Keyboard player Conner West, 25, and guitarist Skye Freitas, 24, jam out at the Gutswurrak Student Activity Center on April 28.

Local bands rock the Gutswurrak

by Ione Dellos Band members wait in front of the bathrooms, eyes anxiously fluttering from the stage to the growing audience in the Gutswurrak Student Activities Center. After the deepest sigh one could possibly take, they make their way to

Travis Allen pole vaults at the Green and Gold Track Event on Feb. 12 Photo by Morgan Hancock.

Athlete’s outperform at decathlon

by Carlos Pedraza The Cal Poly Humboldt Track and Field team participated in the Stanislaus State Multi-Event from Thursday April 7 to Saturday April 9. The team participated in over 10 different events, all of which were multi-day involving different

Photo by Morgan Hancock | Izzy Star hits a home run in final softball game of the season at the Bear River Recreation Center in Loleta, California on Saturday, April 30.

Cal Poly Humboldt plays its last softball game of the series

by Eddie Carpenter On April 30, Cal Poly Humboldt Softball played the last two games of their series against Cal State San Marcos. Due to weather conditions, the softball games had to be relocated to the Bear River Recreation Center

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply