Markets point to leaning more on cap and trade

By Christopher R. Knitte, Special to The Sacramento Bee

There has been much dismay and a good deal of hand-wringing since the election of Donald Trump. Specifically, policymakers, activists, scientists and citizens concerned about the effect of greenhouse gases on climate are concerned that the new administration may overturn or simply ignore efforts aimed at stopping or limiting global warming. 

At least one important appointee is said to doubt the existence of climate change altogether; another has sued to stop former President Barack Obama’s Clean Power plan and many others don’t seem to view climate change as an immediate or urgent concern.

Fortunately there is a great deal that states can do independently. California, for example, is already way out ahead on initiatives aimed at reducing the effects of climate change. Policymakers intent on continuing to fight for change in the next four years – at a national and a state level – would do well to consider these programs.

California has two well-known policies aimed at reducing greenhouse gases: a statewide cap-and-trade market and a low carbon fuel standard. California’s cap-and-trade market requires firms that emit greenhouse gas emissions to buy allowances to cover their pollution. Firms can either buy these allowances from a state-run auction or buy them from other firms that have a surplus.