Climate 411

Western Climate Initiative auction hits a new record, raising over a billion in proceeds for California

Photo by Tom Brewster Photography for the Bureau of Land Management

The results of the Western Climate Initiative’s August auction were released today and all current and future vintage allowances sold at record-high allowance prices.

This news follows two other key climate updates from this summer: The release of the 2019 California Emissions Inventory which looks back at the state’s encouraging emissions progress, and the launch of the Climate Change Scoping Plan update process, which looks ahead at how the state will achieve its 2030 and 2045 targets. Taken together, all of these updates show that California has a golden opportunity to raise its climate ambition, as communities across the state grapple with intensifying, climate-fueled wildfires and drought.

Read More »

Also posted in Carbon Markets / Comments are closed

California needs to raise its ambition to beat the climate crisis. This policy will be key.

This post was authored with Katie Schneer, High Meadows Fellow for subnational climate policy at EDF, and Mayu Takeuchi, intern for U.S. Climate at EDF.

This summer, as Californians face an onslaught of climate-fueled disasters like severe drought and explosive wildfires, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) is launching the development of a roadmap that will outline the next phase of the state’s climate fight.

The 2022 Climate Change Scoping Plan, which will guide the state towards achieving its 2030 greenhouse gas emissions reduction target and its 2045 net-zero emissions target, is a critical opportunity for California to double-down on its climate ambition. State leaders should harness this moment to calibrate California’s suite of climate policies to ensure that the state not only meets its climate goals, but maximizes cuts in emissions this decade.

California’s cap-and-trade program, which launched in 2013, is one of the key policies that should be fine-tuned to respond to the urgency of the climate crisis that Californians are seeing across the state. CARB should act swiftly to ensure that the most important aspect of this program — the emissions cap — is stringent enough to ensure that California meets its 2030 emissions goal of a 40% reduction below 1990 the emissions level and delivers the most reductions in pollution as quickly as possible.

Here’s why CARB should tighten the emissions cap:

Read More »

Also posted in Carbon Markets, Cities and states, Greenhouse Gas Emissions / Read 1 Response

This Fourth of July, we have an opportunity for independence from harmful vehicle pollution

Photo by Pixabay

As millions of Americans hit the road this weekend to visit loved ones and celebrate the Fourth of July, there is increasing reason for optimism that our road trips of the future will be in vehicles that do not emit any pollution.

This past week, the Environmental Protection Agency sent proposed motor vehicle emissions standards to the Office of Management and Budget for review. The proposed action will include strengthened pollution standards for new passenger vehicles through model year 2026, which will reduce climate and health-harming pollution and help correct the prior administration’s rollbacks to our nation’s clean car standards.

EPA’s proposed standards will be an important, near-term step forward.

But the Biden administration has an even bigger opportunity in front of it – to clearly articulate a bold, long-term vision to eliminate tailpipe pollution from new motor vehicles, one that ensures at least 60% of new passenger cars and trucks sold in the U.S. by 2030 are zero-emitting and that all new vehicles sold by 2035 are zero-emitting.

Realizing this vision would have enormous benefits for Americans’ health, the climate, and our pocketbooks:

Read More »

Also posted in Cars and Pollution, Cities and states, Green Jobs, Jobs, News, Policy / Read 1 Response

California Accelerates Toward Zero-Emission Vehicle Standards That Will Save Lives, Save Money, Create Jobs

California just moved further down the road toward cleaner cars and vital air pollution reductions.

The state’s Air Resources Board hosted a public workshop on the development of its Advanced Clean Cars II (ACC II) program last week, where it announced that it intends to propose multipollutant standards that will ensure all new cars sold in California are zero-emitting vehicles by 2035.

At the workshop, the Air Resources Board for the first time laid out a proposed trajectory for the ACC II program, charting a course for ensuring 60% of new vehicles sold in 2030 are zero-emitting and 100% of new vehicles sold by 2035 are zero-emitting.

Slide from Air Resources Board workshop presentation, available here

The ACC II program will build from California’s long history of advancing vehicle pollution reductions under Clean Air Act authority. If adopted, the draft standards described at the workshop will reduce health-harming pollution and climate emissions from new passenger vehicles beyond the 2025 model year and increase the number of zero-emission vehicles for sale. They will also reduce climate pollution, deliver jobs, save Californians’ money, and – most important – save lives.

Read More »

Also posted in Cars and Pollution, Cities and states, Green Jobs, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Health, Jobs, News, Policy / Comments are closed

How climate change is worsening drought

Spring is in full swing across the U.S. – flowers are blooming, pollen is blowing – and this means that the 2021 heat wave, hurricane, and wildfire seasons are just around the corner.

After the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season produced a record number of named storms and record-breaking wildfires ravaged the Western U.S., vulnerable communities are bracing for more. However, another extreme weather event linked to climate change has been quietly afflicting the U.S. year-round with no signs of letting up and at risk of becoming permanent – widespread drought.

Drought conditions have been ongoing since early summer 2020 – and have persisted, worsened, and expanded dramatically – across vast portions of the continental U.S. Since October 2020, almost all of the High Plains and Western regions and more than half of the South have been experiencing some level of drought. More than 50% of Western drought conditions are categorized as either extreme or exceptional drought. Even more drastically, extreme and exceptional drought have comprised more than 75% of drought conditions across the Four Corners region (Arizona, Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico) since late autumn.

NOAA predicts that these widespread dry conditions are likely to continue and spread throughout the spring, especially in the Southwest. This poses major threats to the region, including increased risks of wildfires, parched rangelands, stressed irrigation systems, and crop failures.

Just as climate change has worsened many extreme weather events, it has also impacted droughts. The excess heat now trapped in the climate system draws out more moisture from soils, thereby worsening drought conditions. Reduced snowpack volumes, earlier snowmelt, and changing precipitation patterns – also linked to climate change – exacerbate the water stress induced by droughts. And for numerous individual events across the world, scientists have attributed the increased likelihood and severity of droughts to human-driven climate change.

Read More »

Also posted in Agriculture, Cities and states, Economics, Extreme Weather, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, News, Science / Read 2 Responses

Latest Western Climate Initiative auction sells out; still space for more climate ambition from cap and trade

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park

The latest California-Quebec auction was fully subscribed, based on results released today. This is the second quarter in a row where all allowances sold, which is good news for the state’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund. There is still opportunity, however, for more ambition in the program moving forward.

Today’s results, by the numbers

  • All 54,773,607 current vintage allowances were offered for sale. This is the second consecutive auction where all current allowances sold. It should also be noted that there were just under 2 million more allowances offered in November compared to February, mainly due to the annual decline of the emissions cap.
  • Current vintage allowances cleared at $17.80, 9 cents above the floor price of $17.71. This is 87 cents above the November 2020 settlement price of $16.93.
  • All of the 8,306,250 future vintage allowances offered for sale sold, just as 100% sold in the previous auction. These allowances may not be used for compliance until 2024.
  • Future vintage allowances sold at $18.01, 30 cents above the floor price of $17.71, and 66 cents above the $17.35 settlement price from November 2020.
  • California raised almost $650 million for the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund, some of which the Legislature may allocate during the ongoing budget process for priorities such as the Community Air Protection Program and the Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Program.
  • Quebec raised just over $150 million (just over $190 million CAD) to invest in their own climate priorities.

Read More »

Also posted in Cities and states, Greenhouse Gas Emissions / Comments are closed