Ruling gives bright green light for investment in pollution reduction projects in California

California’s landmark clean energy bill AB 32 received a big boost today from the San Francisco California Superior Court in the case Citizen’s Climate Lobby et. al., v. California Air Resources Board.

The Court’s decision offered unequivocal support for the legality of the offsets portion of AB 32’s cap-and-trade program, a huge shot in the arm for momentum going into the second greenhouse gas allowance auction on February 19th. Similarly, by finding that the state’s offset program is in alignment with AB 32, a bright green light has been given for further investment in projects aimed to reduce pollution both in California and outside our borders.

In this suit, EDF joined as an official party to assist the State of California’s defense. Also joining in the defense was a collection of entities including The Nature Conservancy, the Climate Action Reserve and a collection of business interests. This broad spectrum of support for AB 32 shows that offset investments can deliver on multiple levels for the state.

First, offsets create new opportunities to fund upgrades and pollution reduction in sectors, including agriculture, forestry and industrial gases, that may not otherwise be covered under mandatory emissions limits. Pollution reduction in these sectors enables a greater overall response to climate change, which means positive impacts on the climate and human health.

Second, allowing high quality offsets ensures that a diversity of cost-effective pollution reduction projects can qualify for cap-and-trade compliance. This reduces overall program costs while maintaining the environmental integrity of the program.

As more projects and ideas develop under the AB 32 offsets program, California will be better able to transition to a low-carbon economy. In short, the decision of the Superior Court has authorized the continuation of a program that will be an integral part of California’s climate change goals, spur investment in a clean economy, and maintain California’s position as a leader in the fight to combat climate change.

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