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The Chevron refinery in Richmond, CA Photo: Michael Macor, The San Francisco Chronicle
A federal judge on Friday dismissed a challenge brought by the Trump administration against a greenhouse gas cap-and-trade program that creates a market for emissions credits between the state of California and the Canadian province of Quebec. The administration challenged the program because it argued California had no authority to deal directly with the government of another nation — that its program usurps the federal government’s primacy in foreign affairs. The Judge said the Trump Administration had provided no “concrete evidence that the President’s power to speak and bargain effectively with other countries has actually been diminished.”
The Sacramento Bee reported that California’s Secretary of Environment “Jared Blumenfeld has told lawmakers he would work with the Air Resources Board to consider ‘the extent to which the state’s climate strategy should rely on the cap-and-trade program reductions relative to other approaches.’” According to The Bee, barely one-third of the 57 million carbon credits were sold in the State’s most recent auction due to the drastic reduction in demand for gasoline since the coronavirus pandemic significantly reduced economic activity. Each credit gives its owner the right to emit a ton of carbon pollution, which they can keep for themselves or sell to other businesses that need to emit greenhouse gasses.
Why This Matters: As Vickie Patton, general counsel for the Environmental Defense Fund, told the NYT, “this is really serious…It’s rare for E.P.A.’s inspector general to conduct an investigation of the agency’s rule-making.”
To comply with the Paris Climate Agreement it is crucial to actually track the emissions of greenhouse gases from places like power plants and factories. One newly announced project, Climate TRACE (Tracking Real-Time Atmospheric Carbon Emissions) Coalition, a coalition of nonprofits and tech companies backed by Al Gore, is working to identify emissions from every single specific source, Adele Peters reported in Fast Company yesterday.
Why This Matters: Currently, emissions data is often self-reported, and, according to Fast Company, it “can sometimes take years for the data to be gathered.”
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