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Support Real Climate Action — Urge Gov. Brown to Oppose Cap and Trade!

Submitted by admin on Wed, 08/10/2011 - 3:12pm

Take Action to Support Alternatives to Cap and Trade.

The next step is to contact Governor Jerry Brown, and tell him to stop cap and trade and support a carbon tax. Call Brown at (916) 445-2841 (9 am to 5 pm) or e-mail the governor's office.

California's Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32) is an important step toward addressing climate change. However, when it passed we were disappointed that it included setting up a cap-and-trade program. There are number of serious problems with this model. The European Union's first cap-and-trade system actually produced windfall profits for polluters, and failed to seriously reduce emissions! See below to learn more.

Environmental justice organizations sued the state over cap and trade, and forced officials to look at stronger alternatives. A stronger climate plan would combine two of the ideas identified by the California Air Resources Board:

Carbon Tax. This is a much more transparent approach to pricing carbon. Also, the revenues go to the state, which can use it to close the budget gap, re-fund our public transportation systems, schools, and social services, and invest in green energy. We the People need that money more than Chevron does — make polluters pay!
Regulate specific pollution sources. To ensure we clean up the air in the most polluted areas, combine a carbon tax with strict enforcement of clean air laws with the biggest polluters, such as oil refineries.

TAKE ACTION: Contact Governor Jerry Brown, and tell him to stop cap and trade and support a carbon tax. Call Brown at (916) 445-2841 (9 am to 5 pm) or e-mail the governor's office.

If you’d like to make your voice heard at the California Air Resources Board’s hearing on Cap and Trade in Sacramento on August 24th, e-mail

What is cap and trade? What are the problems?

Theoretically, cap-and-trade means that the state sets a “cap” on greenhouse gas emissions, and this cap is brought lower each year. That part is great. The “trade” part allows companies that want to continue emitting to buy credits from those that emit less. This is the problematic part.

Environmental justice organizations such as Communities for a Better Environment filed a lawsuit on the grounds that cap-and-trade could have uneven effects on air quality around the state. Some refineries or power plants may choose to keep polluting at the same levels and buy credits instead, and the air in communities around those sites stays unhealthy.

In addition, cap-and-trade can actually make money for polluting corporations when credits are given away, and the system can be gamed to produce no reductions in emissions at all. In the European Union’s case, corporations convinced the government to give away credits instead of auctioning them. Then the utility companies made a profit selling the credits given to them. Too many credits were initially given away, and the price dropped to an ineffective level. In addition, companies can buy “offsets” that may or may not actually reduce emissions.