Finally, a breath of fresh air for California cap-and-trade

If all goes according to plan, something rather amazing will happen this Thursday.

The California Air Resources Board is set to consider, and probably adopt in final form, a market-based greenhouse gas emission control regulation.

I wish this weren’t such an accomplishment. I wish I were not amazed. After all, market-based environmental controls have been in place in California since 1994 and in the Great Lakes region since 1995. Greenhouse gas emissions have been regulated using market-based systems all across Europe since 2005, and in the US Northeast since 2008.

This is nothing new.

Still, the effort to get this regulation in place… and keep it there… has been nothing less than heroic. Although it’s only one of many regulations adopted to implement California’s 2006 Global Warming Solutions Act, the Cap and Trade regulation alone has served as the lightning rod for criticism and ridicule, for attacks economic and political; it has also served as the rallying point for Californians seeking to transform our energy infrastructure into one we’re proud to leave our children and which, incidentally, makes California the a powerful hub for clean energy investment, clean energy technology, and a clean energy workforce.

The debate has not been friendly. Economic woes dominate our national dialogue, and every attempt to implement change, is debated within the narrow construct of short-term financial well-being. Near-term steps to address long-term, highly inconvenient problems do not fare well in this environment.

For these reasons, I am amazed.

It’s obvious which side of this debate I’m on. And I hasten to remind everyone that TerraPass was founded on the premise that market forces can be an effective agent of change. We do not support cap and trade regulations because we sell offsets. We create and sell carbon offsets because we believe in harnessing market forces to effect change.

Let’s hope that change starts now.

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  1. Reality - October 19, 2011

    To briefly touch and brush aside the long term negative economic impact that cap and trade would have on an almost bankrupt State is misleading. Obviously, you have a financial interest in cap and trade with little regard to the “receivers” of energy in the State. Cap and Trade will permanently increase energy costs for at least a generation until science can create an economically viable alternative energy solution for mass consumption.

  2. Anonymous - October 21, 2011

    Tradition! It is amazing to me, a long time student of the human species, how utterly resistant we are to change. It can be seen in the archaeological record for thousands and thousands of years. Make no mistake change can be a little scary since it moves us from our comfort zone to the unfamiliar. However, you under estimate the adaptability and ingenuity of the human species.
    Even my Depression ERA parents, yes I am a boomer, understood the benefits of being more efficient and reducing the fossil fuel habit. The old 1960 vintage house, built without insulation and with very inefficient heating etc, now has new efficient doors, windows, HVAC system, lots of insulation – even in the outside walls, and solar panels on the roof. To say the Chief Financial Officer of the household is tickled with the results is an understatement.
    Yes, there will be some stumbling and trial and error efforts along the way but, in the end the people and the economy will adapt and thrive. Just not in November 2011. It will take time, which it was going to take anyway to clean up California’s bugetary mess (a self inflicted wound to some extent).