CARB Pushes Cap & Trade Panic Button
By WAYNE LUSVARDI
Panic-button time. Today the California Air Resources Board votes on the final rules for the state’s Cap and Trade emissions trading program, rather than delay a year as previously announced. CARB apparently is sensing the mounting negative public opinion against green energy programs in the aftermath of the Solyndra scandal.
If approved, the emissions-trading component of the program would go into effect on Jan. 1, 2012, but enforcement would be postponed until 2013. Apparently, CARB is concerned that, if it waits until 2013 to pass the whole package, by then public opinion will be running so much against more environmental regulation that they will be unable to surmount the opposition.
Opinion polls for President Obama show that his approval rating has dropped from 70 percent in March 2009 to 39 percent in October 2011, with just 32 percent approval with independent voters. If Obama were a one-term president succeeded by a Republican, CARB may anticipate that it would be very hard to pass Cap and Trade with a hostile president and Congress.
California’s Cap and Trade program requires trading with other western states and Canada. The composition of the Securities and Exchange Commission might change after the national election and CARB acknowledges that it will have to comply with federal commodity trading laws.
Japan, EU Retrenching
Steven Hayward, writing on the Power Line.com blog, stated that, ironically considering the CARB action, the Wall Street Journal for Oct. 20 has two headlines indicating that both Japan and the European Union are retrenching on Cap and Trade emission-trading programs. The first headline and story:
TOKYO—Japan is reconsidering plans to cut carbon-dioxide emissions by 25% by 2020 due to a rethinking of its energy future, and the country is worried that it is spending too much on carbon-credit programs, a senior government official said on Wednesday.
Japan’s doubts, prompted in part by its nuclear disaster in March, come at a time the European Union is questioning whether it should press ahead with plans to cut greenhouse-gas emissions if others don’t follow suit.
The second headline and story:
BRUSSELS—The European Union is for the first time clearly questioning whether it should press ahead with long-term plans to cut greenhouse-gas emissions if other countries don’t follow suit, in what could herald a significant policy shift for a region that has been at the forefront of advocating action to combat climate change.
In a document reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, the European Commission’s energy department says the EU should consider whether the region should seek to switch its domestic energy base away from carbon-emitting sources in the absence of a global climate-change deal.
The decision of CARB to enact the regulations comes as I have revealed on CalWatchDog.com that wind and solar energy plants cause natural gas power plants to cycle up and down with the gusts of the wind and the penetration of the sun resulting in wasted energy and more air pollution.
The Sacramento Bee has supported Cap and Trade all along. Today it ran an editorial warning that if Cap and Trade costs too much, or if its trading system gets gamed, it will set back the larger green energy policy. The Bee wrote:
“This editorial board supported cap and trade when lawmakers approved Assembly Bill 32 in 2006, optimistic at the time that such a market-based system would be adopted in some form on a national or regional level. That hasn’t happened, which gives us some trepidation.
“Is California large enough to create a robust market for emissions trading? And are its regulators and industries savvy enough to spot manipulators? That remains to be seen.”
Waiting Till 2013
What does it tell you if CARB is afraid to implement the painful enforcement part of its Cap and Trade program until 2013? CARB is apparently slamming its new rules over environmental justice groups that legally challenged Cap and Trade as unjust to low income communities.
There is an old joke that came out of the Six Day War in 1967 between Israel and Arab countries that went like this:
How do you tell an army tank is Egyptian?
I don’t know, how?
It has backup lights!
California’s Cap and Trade program apparently has a panic button, but only to proceed in forward gear. A question for the future is: “Does it also have backup lights?” It will likely need them.
May 24, 2013