The goal of cap-and-trade is to fight climate change, not raise tax revenue

California high-speed train
The high-speed rail project connecting San Francisco and Los Angeles is the biggest recipient of the cap-and-trade funds.
(Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

To the editor: California’s cap-and-trade program should be viewed as part of the state’s comprehensive package of climate policies, including efficiency standards for new homes and appliances, which have driven emissions reductions, thereby contributing to lower demand for permits. (“California’s cap-and-trade program faces daunting hurdles to avoid collapse,” June 14)

California’s program includes smart elements that will automatically tighten the cap in response to recent auction results. Yes, greater legal certainty will also help, but keep in mind that high carbon prices aren’t a goal of California’s climate policy. The goals are emission reductions, efficiency, consumer protection and growing businesses set to compete in the 21st century economy.

Last year, global investment in renewable electricity generation exceeded that for coal and natural gas. California is decarbonizing even as the state’s economic recovery has outperformed national trends. 

California’s climate policy is a wild success, thanks in part to cap-and-trade.


Chris Busch, San Francisco

The writer is director of research at Energy Innovation Policy & Technology LLC.


To the editor: It is ironic that the continuing fall in demand for carbon permits, especially in May, is causing angst among state lawmakers. 


Shouldn’t they celebrate the fact that the decline may indicate the success of cap-and-trade, which was originally established to create an incentive for polluters to reduce their emissions? Or has cap-and-trade evolved into a stealth tax that state government depends on to help fund programs like the bullet train boondoggle, subsidies for buying greener cars and other “sustainability” enhancing efforts?

Glynn Morris, Playa del Rey 

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