Economics for the Earth Blog

California cap-and-trade bill is a giveaway to polluters

Posted Jul. 17, 2017 / Posted by: Audrey Fox

SACRAMENTO, CA - Today, the California legislature voted to pass AB 398, a controversial cap-and-trade bill that would extend California’s carbon trading program through 2030.

The bill was roundly rejected by the environmental justice community, and includes several giveaways to polluters, including: tens of billions of dollars’ worth of free emission allowances, a particular boon to the oil and gas industry; and allowing polluters to use more carbon offsets to meet their compliance obligations, rather than actually reducing carbon emissions. Notably, it keeps the door open to international forest carbon credits, which are scientifically dubious and associated with a host of indigenous rights impacts.

Moreover, the bill curbs the ability of regional pollution authorities from regulating carbon dioxide, a blow to the hard-won efforts of fenceline communities to establish pollution caps for refineries, which emit both carbon dioxide and co-pollutants harmful to human health.

Michelle Chan, Friends of the Earth’s Vice President of Programs, issued the following statement in response:

The California legislature has passed a climate deal for billionaires that targets the most vulnerable while giving handouts to Big Oil.

They have ensured that Big Oil can continue to poison our communities and use the global atmosphere as a dumping ground. Their plan would leave the most vulnerable people, both in California and overseas, at risk to the impacts of climate change and the policy itself.

The bill’s many giveaways to Big Oil exposes the false climate leadership of a California political elite that is beholden to the rich and powerful. With this vote, Californian elected officials have covered themselves in an oily sheen while doing little to address California’s emissions.  

Expert contact: Gary Hughes, (707) 233-5434, ghughes@foe.org
Communications contact: Erin Jensen, (202) 222-0722, ejensen@foe.org
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