Foward, CARB, Forward

In Europe, where they have been trading and offsetting carbon under the Koyoto Protocol, there have been concerns raised from the beginning, emission have not been reduced, and the programs are plagued with fraud, corporate lobbying interference,  and manipulation.

We hope that CARB will take the opportunity resulting from the San Francisco Superior Court finding that it failed to truly consider alternatives to the trading scheme planned for California to both follow the law and to re-think how we can truly reduce harmful emissions of greenhouse gases.  But this April 7th article might–just might–suggest otherwise:

Europe’s commissioner for climate action on Tuesday confirmed for the first time plans to link the EU emissions trading scheme (ETS) with California’s carbon market which opens next year.

The estimated value of transactions on the EU ETS was €72bn (£62bn) in 2010 and the California cap and trade scheme could be worth $10bn (£6bn) by 2016, according to Point Carbon.

But the European scheme has been fraught with problems including over-allocation of allowances resulting in windfall profits for energy corporations and allegedly fraudulent “missing trader” transactions worth €5bn. The scheme has also been subjected to cyber attacks.  (all links are from original article)

Well,  I can hope–can’t I?

Anyway, here’s the next step in the court battle:

On April 22, 2011, environmental justice groups that succeeded in its lawsuit against the California Air Resources Board for its failure to consider alternatives to protect the public health and the environment during the implementation of the California Global Warming Solutions Act— popularly known as AB 32—submitted its final documentation to the Court that will determine the impact of the Court’s March 17, 2011 on the program’s implementation.

Judge Ernest Goldsmith, of the San Francisco Superior Court, has already ruled that the California Air Resources Board violated the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) when, among other things, it failed to properly consider alternatives to a “cap and trade” program in its plan to implement AB 32. The Court ordered Petitioners to submit proposed documents – Writ of Mandate – consistent with its Decision, to finalize the Court’s order. In the documents submitted to the Court, Petitioners offered two options for moving forward. The first option, which most closely tracks the Court’s language, enjoins, or stops, all implementation of all of the measures described in Scoping Plan adopted by CARB. The Scoping Plan is CARB’s blueprint for how it plans to implement AB 32. The second option narrows the Court’s proposed Decision to enjoin, or stop, only further implementation and development of the cap and trade program, until CARB completes a lawfully adequate CEQA review.

“We want to strengthen AB 32 and ensure that it is effective; a hard and honest look at cap and trade is critical to getting there,” said Bill Gallegos, Executive Director of Communities for a Better Environment, one of the environmental justice plaintiffs in the lawsuit. “Our communities demand real solutions for reducing pollution emissions, not another scheme that makes market traders rich at the expense of our health,” Gallegos added.

Jesse Marquez of Wilmington, a community that is among the worst polluted by oil refineries and other industrial sources of air pollution in the state, explained that “Cap and trade schemes don’t work. The court is right that CARB should not continue implementing cap and trade until it has considered other options.” In offering the Court a more limited option to that included in the Court’s order, “we recognize that some of the implementation measures provide important benefits to our community and all of California, sadly it seems that CARB unwilling to recognize that pollution trading isn’t the same thing as pollution reduction,” Marquez added.
Communities for a Better Environment represented itself and its members; the Center on Race, Poverty & the Environment (CRPE) represented Association of Irritated Residents, Coalition for a Safe Environment, Society for Positive Action, West County Toxics Coalition, Angela Johnson Meszaros, Dr. Henry Clark, Jesse Marquez, Shabaka Heru, and Tom Frantz; Angela Johnson Meszaros represented Martha Dina Arguello, Caroline Farrell, and California Communities Against Toxics.

For those who are interested, here’s what was filed by both us and by ARB.

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