Climate 411

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:

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Posted in California, Carbon Markets, Cities and states, Greenhouse Gas Emissions / Read 1 Response

Western Climate Initiative recovering from COVID-19, and the new climate kid in town

The results of the latest Western Climate Initiative cap-and-trade auction were released today and all current and future allowances sold. This generates substantial revenue for California’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund but could also indicate that greenhouse gas emissions are rebounding as the economy recovers from the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Auction quick takes:

  • All 71,647,138 current vintage allowances offered were sold; this is the third consecutive sold out auction. There were almost 17 million more allowances offered in May as in February, largely due to the return of previously unsold allowances.
  • Current vintage allowances cleared at $18.80, $1.09 above the floor price of $17.71. This is one dollar above the February 2021 settlement price of $17.80.
  • All of the 8,306,250 future vintage allowances offered for sale sold, just as 100% sold in the previous two auctions. These allowances may not be used for compliance until 2024.
  • Future vintage allowances sold at $19.04, $1.33 above the floor price of $17.71, and $1.03 cents above the $18.01 settlement price from February 2021.
  • California raised almost $ 916 million for the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund, which will continue to help support essential climate programs through the California Climate Investment
  • Quebec raised almost $210 million (just under $253 million CAD) to invest in their own climate priorities.

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The Climate Commitment Act could be game-changing for Washington state and the country: Here’s what you should know

Editor’s note: This post was last updated April 21st, 2021.

Washington has an opportunity in the Climate Commitment Act to adopt transformative climate policy. It would enable the state to slash greenhouse gas emissions at the pace and scale necessary to fight the climate crisis, help address the disproportionate and historic pollution burden in many low-income communities and communities of color, and provide a policy model for other states on how to achieve their emission reduction goals.

There are many reasons the Legislature should act swiftly to ensure this landmark policy becomes law. Here is a rundown of the key features, how they work and why they matter.

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

Washington state moves closer to comprehensive climate policy, strengthening its climate leadership

This post was co-authored with Kjellen Belcher, Senior Analyst, U.S. Climate Policy at EDF.

Washington state capitol.

The Washington Legislature has just advanced ambitious climate policy that would make the state the second in the nation to place an enforceable, declining limit on climate pollution from the largest-emitting sectors of its economy. This is a fundamental step toward protecting the people of Washington state from the most severe consequences of climate change.

The Climate Commitment Act, which passed 7-3 out of the Environment, Energy, and Technology Committee on Thursday morning, places a firm limit on the state’s climate pollution and puts a price on carbon to ensure continued investments in community resilience, green jobs, sustainable transportation, and clean energy. The bill would guarantee that greenhouse gas emissions from across the state are slashed in line with Washington’s strong statutory climate goals.

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

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.

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Posted in California, Cities and states, Greenhouse Gas Emissions / Comments are closed

Washington state can make good on its climate promises and close the emissions gap

Editor’s note: This post was last updated Jan 12, 2021.

After a harrowing year, which included a record-breaking wildfire season in Washington that burned over 700,000 acres, Washington state lawmakers now have the opportunity to make meaningful climate progress in the new 2021 legislative session. Governor Inslee recently unveiled a comprehensive legislative framework for the upcoming session, which focuses on securing reductions in climate pollution consistent with the state’s science-based reduction targets. The package proposes a Clean Fuel Standard, doubles-down on curbing pollution from buildings and investing in clean energy, and critically, includes a firm, declining limit on greenhouse gas emissions that can guarantee pollution is slashed in line with Washington’s climate goals. The proposal also centers environmental justice by ensuring that frontline communities have a prominent role in designing policy and climate investments. Governor Inslee’s leadership is welcome news following the release of a report by Environmental Defense Fund which shows that states with climate commitments, including Washington, are off course for bringing their emissions down consistent with science-based trajectories for 2030.

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