CLIMATE CHANGE ROUNDUP: Cap & Trade’s Environmental Cooperation Found Wanting

By Published On: February 4, 2011

The California Air Resources Board’s plan laying the groundwork for a carbon cap-and-trade market fails to comply with the California Environmental Quality Act, a Superior Court in San Francisco found. Judge Ernest Goldsmith issued the tentative ruling late last month. He held that the Air Board’s analysis of alternatives to a carbon market detailed in its climate change law scoping plan gave short shrift to CEQA’s mandates. The agency charged with implementing the state climate protection law, AB 32, erroneously concluded that other greenhouse gas reduction options, including a carbon tax and source specific regulations, would result in the same level of carbon reductions as a carbon trading scheme. “ARB provides little or no facts to support this conclusion,” stated Goldsmith. The agency must “provide the public with some indication based on factual analysis as to why it chose the scoping plan over the alternatives.” At the same time, the judge rejected the petitioners’ other charges, including ones asserting the Air Board violated AB 32 in choosing a cap-and-trade program. Thus, the judge declined to order the agency to redo its scoping plan. The Association of Irritated Residents, Communities for a Better Environment, and several environmental justice advocates brought the suit. * * * * * San Diego announced what it called a “Smart City” initiative Jan. 31 aimed at preparing for an influx of electric vehicles. The initiative between the city, San Diego Gas & Electric, and others aims to create what city mayor Jerry Sanders called “a comprehensive electric vehicle infrastructure.” He said it would help toward energy independence, while reducing greenhouse gases. * * * * * The European Union’s carbon trading market has yet to recover from the $9 million cyber hacking theft revealed Jan. 19. California is the next large economy to launch a carbon trading market. The European Commission halted carbon trading on the spot market in its 27 EU member countries and delayed recommencing trading because of continued concerns about cybersecurity protections. Over two years, $30 million worth of greenhouse emission allowances were stolen electronically. Connie Hedegaard, European Commissioner for Climate Action, “has written to all ministers to urge swift follow-up and implementation of the guidance on security requirements,” the commission reported Jan. 28. The security mandates are confidential. The Paris based carbon exchange, BlueNext, announced Feb. 3 it plans to resume trading Feb. 4. “One thing was clear, there was an overwhelming demand to filter out the allegedly stolen permits and place them into isolation,” according to BlueNext. Initially, the Commission said it would reactivate carbon spot market trading Jan. 26. * * * * * The blue agave of Tequila is going green! GreenHouse Holdings Feb. 1 struck a deal with ten Mexican tequila distilleries to clean up waste left over from processing agave that adds to greenhouse gases. Instead of a one-way trip to the dump where it degrades to pollute water and create methane, the waste will be recycled as fertilizer, eliminating the need for synthetic fertilizer. This can help solve a multitude of environmental problems caused by the waste, from greenhouse gases to water pollution and chewing up limited landfill space.

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