Analysis of California’s extended cap-and-trade program

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) — Governor Brown scored two big victories Monday when the legislature, by a super-majority, extended the state’s cap-and-trade program until 2030.

This is the state’s premier environmental law on climate change to reduce greenhouse gases.

The governor needed that two-thirds vote to breathe life into his bullet train, and a two-thirds vote also prevents any legal challenges to cap-and-trade.

The governor worried about getting a two-thirds vote, but his anxiety calmed when eight Republicans crossed the aisle to join the Democrats.

Related Link: California Senate votes to extend Cap-and-Trade policy through 2030

"This is pretty amazing. I must say, I didn’t know where it was going a few days ago, but here we are, and I think there’s a lot to celebrate. There’s a lot to appreciate, a lot to recognize," Gov. Brown said.

Brown’s legacy project, the bullet train, will now get a large share of cap-and-trade funding.

"The whole game here is that Jerry Brown wants to leave one legacy which is high-speed rail which is probably the dumbest idea that we’ve ever come up with. It will eventually, but he needs money and so this is going to be one source of money for high-speed rail which Ironically does nothing for the environment," said Richard Rider, of San Diego Tax Fighters.

Rider said there will never be enough commuters to pay for it.

"They want to get back and forth to work they don’t want to travel around the state, so this is something that’s going to be primarily a luxury for certain people to use, a small fraction of Californians but all Californians are going to end up paying for it," Rider said.

Basically, the "cap" limits the amount of pollution a company generates. However, it can purchase allowances or credits that allow it to continue polluting and these permits can be "traded" or sold by low polluters to high polluters. 

According to the state’s legislative analyst, cap-and-trade could add another $0.73 cents to a gallon of gas. Critics said this is just another tax because these costs are passed on to consumers.

"A cap-and-trade tax is a hidden tax because you don’t see it like a sales tax on your bill. It’s separate. It’s built into the product that you buy," Rider said.

Speaking of products, a Loma Linda University study said if we turned to beans instead of beef, the country would immediately realize approximately 50 to 70 percent of greenhouse gas reduction for the year 2020 without any new standards on automobiles or manufacturing.

The environmental working group in D.C. said agriculture is one of the largest polluters. Its report breaks down foods by greenhouse gas emissions.

For example, lamb is equivalent to 39.2 kilograms of CO2. One kilo of lamb is equivalent to driving 90 miles. Beef is second at 27 kilos and cheese is third at 12.1 kilos.

By comparison, the average car emits about .41 kilograms of CO2 per mile.

The cradle to grave carbon footprint of these items includes pesticides, fertilizers, grazing animal raising, processing, transportation, and cooking.

Add up all of these polluters and California only produces about one percent of the greenhouse gas emissions on the planet. 

Categories: Local San Diego News