Climate 411

Oregon’s cap-and-invest program clears first legislative hurdle

By Pam Kiely, Sr. Director of Regulatory Strategy for U.S. Climate, and Katelyn Roedner Sutter, Manager for U.S. Climate

Mount Hood, Oregon. Image by David Mark from Pixabay.com

Oregon today advanced nationally-leading policy that would catapult Oregon into the top-tier of U.S. states taking ambitious climate action.

The cap-and-invest bill (HB 2020), which passed 8-5 out of its first committee late Friday afternoon, places a firm limit on the state’s climate pollution while ensuring continued investments in resilient communities, green jobs and clean energy.

Oregon’s cap-and-invest program sets the bar for what true climate leadership demands: putting in place policies that actually will achieve pollution reductions consistent with what scientists say is necessary to prevent catastrophic climate change. Read More »

Also posted in Cities and states, News, Policy / Read 1 Response

Defending the Amazon, and our planet, from “Trump of the tropics”

DeforestationWithCattle&Forest_19735891_Shutterstock.com_RF

Cattle grazing at a ranch where burned trees and the edge of the rainforest are still visible in Brazil. Shutterstock.

Presidents Trump and Bolsonaro had a lot of common ground to share when they met in Washington last week – racism, misogyny, conspiracy theories, and contempt for science and journalism (the high quality type). They also converge on an early 1900’s view of development and environment as a zero-sum game. The more you have of one, the less there is of the other.

The economics don’t add up for either of them. Trump crows about “beautiful” coal, but the market says coal is a loser compared to renewables and cleaner fuels. Bolsonaro wants to get out of the Paris climate accord and roll back indigenous land rights in favor of agribusiness and mining. Meanwhile, the executive director of the powerful Brazilian Agribusiness Association says “Whoever wants to leave the Paris Agreement has never exported anything.”

Climate denial is central to Trump’s and Bolsonaro’s mindsets, and here the conspiracy theories really go to town. Trump thinks climate change is a Chinese conspiracy to strangle the US economy. Bolsonaro’s Foreign Minister thinks climate change is part of a “cultural Marxist” plot to keep down western democracies and build up Marxist China (he also thinks the “cultural Marxists” want to criminalize red meat and heterosexual sex). Interestingly, former President Dilma Rousseff’s first Minister of Science and Technology, former Communist Party of Brazil Congressman Aldo Rebelo, thought climate change was a capitalist conspiracy to crush Brazilian development. Why let political differences spoil a good conspiracy theory?

You can really only hold on to that early 20th century dichotomy if you ignore the costs of climate change – and the economic opportunities that arise from fixing the problem.

Read More »

Also posted in Brazil, California, Forest protection, Indigenous People / Comments are closed

California-Quebec market continues to thrive

California cap and trade, renewable energy

Alta Wind Energy Center, California, Photo source: Steve Boland/flickr

February’s joint California-Quebec cap-and-trade auction demonstrated again that the market is strong. Despite uncertainty over PG&E’s position in the aftermath of its bankruptcy filing last month, all current and two-thirds of future allowances sold.

February’s auction by the numbers:

  • All 80,847,404 current allowances sold, including previously unsold allowances and consigned allowances from utilities like PG&E. This sale cleared at $15.73, 11 cents above the floor price of $15.62.
  • 5,983,000 of the 9,038,000 future vintage allowances offered also sold at the floor price. These allowances are not available for use until 2022. This is the first auction since the floor price increased to $15.62, so businesses have three more auctions at this price floor to purchase allowances that cannot be used for three more years.
  • Approximately $853,508,096 was raised for the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund which the state uses to support climate investments in frontline communities, improvements in local air quality, and other projects to further reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Read More »

Also posted in California / Read 1 Response

Will governments disappoint again on carbon accounting at upcoming aviation meetings?

https://www.pexels.com/photo/silhouette-of-airplane-during-sunset-99567/

Silhouette of Airplane during Sunset. Pexels.com

Some major companies, including airlines, took the lead last December in Katowice, Poland in rejecting the use of dubious carbon credits toward their climate efforts. Despite this drumbeat against bad rules for cooperative approaches under Article 6 of the Paris agreement, experienced government negotiators fell short and did not finalize these guidelines in Katowice. This month in Montreal, governments could decide the fate of carbon credits for the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction System for International Aviation (CORSIA), but will they ignore business demand for good credits by allowing aviation emissions reductions to be double counted?

Let’s look behind the negotiating curtain and unpack how companies got involved, why governments should pay attention to companies’ push for environmental integrity and what governments can do in Montreal to maintain the integrity of CORSIA.

Read More »

Also posted in Aviation, International, Paris Agreement, United Nations / Read 1 Response

Oregon poised to cap carbon pollution

https://www.flickr.com/photos/jeffgunn/8237668817/in/photolist-cXAqeb-eKtpYD-22HdzME-2aKADbW-j3fACu-rdqUSL-4psFMA-h2pgpG-JLrzPx-2cQryfW-pHj7q7-CnaWpN-dxWcWH-r7SPf-ezHCnq-hyMSjJ-sw97qX-ZxDuR-ssSyRn-sonWuA-q4Mraz-dByjPK-ixGyPj-eZuV1t-rBC5Ao-LrCUZQ-ipr4Ze-jfT1pG-rgTCFb-ejLRAy-nmvBz-fcNTHb-oZGWqn-rBBBZr-ekSVRZ-r7SK44-C6i95A-moDYBA-A7nips-tRD7vz-eczcuJ-pVPQ1S-txYbBh-oN7iF4-sgBqMh-ydRfMa-ejLUy7-kuNYkr-rYC7pz-pXL8dN

Portland, Oregon. Flickr/Jeff Gunn

Federal climate action is in an indefinite holding pattern with a serious risk of major backtracking; but the good news is that non-federal climate action has continued, with states, cities and businesses gearing up to take big strides toward the commitments they have made on climate.

Oregon is one key state with a big opportunity for bold action in 2019. The state Legislature reconvened on January 22 and will consider a “cap and invest” bill that promises to place a firm limit on the state’s climate pollution while ensuring continued investments in resilient communities, green jobs and clean energy. Legislators are expected to release bill language by January 31.

Read More »

Also posted in Cities and states / Read 2 Responses

A growing call for environmental integrity

The recent introduction of bipartisan carbon fee legislation is demonstrating an important pattern taking hold as policymakers focus on climate change solutions. The Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act, like the MARKET CHOICE Act introduced earlier this year by Republican Rep. Curbelo, recognizes that any carbon fee aimed at meeting the challenge of climate change must be designed with environmental performance in mind.

The new legislation is the first time in a decade that lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have come together to put forth serious climate policy. And like the MARKET CHOICE Act, it uses a fee to reduce pollution across the economy and includes “environmental integrity mechanisms” (EIMs) — provisions that tie a carbon fee to clear, measurable pollution reduction goals and keep us on track to meet those goals. EIMs are still a relatively new concept on the climate policy scene, but leading thinkers have begun to pay them significantly more attention, and it is clear they are emerging as a critical component of any serious carbon fee proposal: and with good reason.

A carbon fee – which sets a price per unit of pollution – prompts the economy to respond by providing powerful incentives to reduce that pollution, but it cannot guarantee the environmental result. While energy and economic modeling tools can provide critical insight into possible or likely outcomes, they cannot provide certainty over the magnitude of the impact. That’s why it is critical to include EIMs designed to provide greater assurances that a fee will deliver on its pollution reduction potential. Read More »

Also posted in Cars and Pollution, Climate Change Legislation, Economics, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Policy / Comments are closed