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Gov. Brown's cap-and-trade compromise is a giveaway to the very polluters causing climate change

To the editor: I disagree that AB 398, which would extend California’s cap-and-trade program “for the sake of the planet,” is the “balanced approach” that Gov. Jerry Brown touts. The bill was written in consultation with the oil and gas lobby and is opposed by more than 50 of California’s leading environmental organizations. (“For the sake of the planet and our state, extend California's cap-and-trade program,” editorial, July 13)

While the current cap-and-trade program has not been shown to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, AB 398 would make things worse by prohibiting local air quality districts from enacting tougher greenhouse gas limits. It’s no surprise this bill is supported by corporate polluters that will be able to pay their way out of reducing pollution.

Legislators who care about our state’s future and clean air should reject this industry giveaway and instead demand that polluters make real emissions reductions at the source.

Adam Scow, Oakland

The writer is the California director for Food and Water Watch.

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To the editor: Brown is to be congratulated for his continued leadership in the United States and globally on climate change, including his plan to extend the state’s successful cap-and-trade program.

The High-Level Economic Commission on Carbon Prices, which I co-chaired with Columbia University economist Joseph E. Stiglitz, pointed out in its final report in May that cap-and-trade or a carbon tax is a highly cost-effective way of reducing the emission of greenhouse gases by helping to remove a huge implicit subsidy for fossil fuels arising from the fact that their prices do not reflect the costs they impose on others through the impacts of climate change. Only by charging for these damages can markets do their job of signaling real costs.

California is showing the way to a much stronger, more attractive and sustainable pattern of growth. It is also demonstrating to the world that there is a clear commitment in the state to the modern way of doing things, thus greatly enhancing the confidence necessary for investment and economic growth.

Nicholas Stern, London

The writer is a professor and the director of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

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