Carbon & Courts II: Cap and Trade: Fixable or Fatally Flawed? (9/14/11)

Carbon & Courts II: Cap and Trade: Fixable or Fatally Flawed? Edie Chang, Office of Climate Change, California Air Resources Board Brent Newell, General Counsel, Center on Race, Poverty and the Environment Bill Gallegos, Executive Director, Communities for a Better Environment Kristin Eberhard, Legal Director, Western Energy and Climate Projects, Natural Resources Defense Council It might be the only reference to Star Wars you’ll ever hear at Climate One. Reaching for an analogy to drive home the impact of a shrinking cap on carbon emissions in California, Kristin Eberhard, Legal Director, Western Energy and Climate Projects, Natural Resources Defense Council, asks the audience to remember the trash compactor scene from the original Star Wars.“This is the cap for Chevron. That cap is coming down on them year after year after year. And they have to figure out what they’re going to do,” she says. “In the trash compactor, there’s no out. They’re in it. And that’s what we’re finding. These regulated facilities are realizing that the cap is not changing.”“The problem with Kristin’s analogy,” interjects Brent Newell, General Counsel, Center on Race, Poverty and the Environment, to big laughs, “is that R2-D2 actually stopped the trash compactor. And they got out.” Replace R2-D2 in the analogy with political meddling and market manipulation and the two poles of this spirited Climate One exchange on the future of California’s cap-and-trade program come into focus. Eberhard and Edie Chang, Office of Climate Change, California Air Resources Board, argue that a regulated cap-and-trade system, coupled with renewable energy targets and improved fuel economy standards, will dramatically reduce carbon emissions and give communities relief from harmful localized pollutants. Newell and Bill Gallegos, Executive Director, Communities for a Better Environment, argue that regulators at CARB are choosing not to use their authority under AB 32 to target pollution at major industrial facilities, usually sited next to neighborhoods home to low-income people of color. After reiterating that environmental justice groups firmly support AB 32, Bill Gallegos says that the lawsuit these groups filed to force CARB to scrap the cap-and-trade system was a last resort. “We wanted to ensure that, as we’re reducing greenhouse gas emissions, let’s get the other stuff that is really choking people and killing them right now. We had a chance to do something good and, unfortunately, the Air Resources Board has not seized that opportunity,” he says. In response to Newell and Gallegos’ concern about local sources of pollutants, Edie Chang says, “We’re also initiating a rulemaking to ensure that the seventeen largest industrial sources in the state are going to have to implement the cost-effective greenhouse gas reductions. Programs like that will make sure that localized communities experience air-quality benefits.” This program was recorded in front of a live audience at The Commonwealth Club in San Francisco on September 14, 2011 Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices


by Climate One