Opinion: California must show American leadership on climate change and continue its cap-and-trade program

Gov. Jerry Brown, shown at a news conference after he was named special advisor at a United Nations summit on climate change, is pushing to extend the state's cap-and-trade program.
(Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

To the editor: We applaud California’s leadership for positioning the state to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. (“Gov. Brown and Democratic leaders offer plan to extend cap and trade, with aim for approval this week,” July 10)

A quick and positive vote from the state Legislature to extend its historic cap-and-trade program will be a critical leap forward for our country. At a time when federal leadership is taking a nap on climate action, this extension will send a clear signal to other countries that the American people are not asleep and we are not powerless. States, cities and companies are taking the lead.

California’s cap-and-trade program successfully marshaled market forces to invest in low-carbon solutions. It drove innovation, created jobs and cost-effectively reduced emissions while generating revenue to improve air quality for its most vulnerable populations. By extending the program, California will again show the world a low-carbon future is possible in the absence of federal leadership.


We can and must meet our obligation to provide our children a healthy, stable and bright future.

Gina McCarthy, Boston

Bob Perciasepe, Washington

McCarthy was administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from 2013 to 2017. Perciasepe, a former deputy EPA administrator, is president of the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions.


To the editor: I would like to offer an alternative plan, carbon fee and dividend, which would actually do away with some of the problems posed by cap and trade with regard to offsets, which allow pollution to remain locally while the benefit of mitigation is felt far away.

Carbon fee and dividend would assess an ever increasing fee upon all carbon products as they enter the country, either from the mine, well or by shipment. The revenue from this fee would then be distributed on an equitable basis to all households.


Thus, sustainable energy sources would be developed and utilized without a great financial hardship on the citizenry.

Sally White, Valencia

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