Cap-and-Trade Extension Leaves Crucial Work Ahead
Implementation Must Prioritize Communities in Need, Greenlining Institute Says

Contact: Bruce Mirken, Greenlining Institute Media Relations Director, 510-926-4022; 415-846-7758 (cell)

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA – Tonight’s legislative approval of AB 398 (E. Garcia) to extend California’s cap-and-trade program reaffirms the state’s commitment to pricing carbon but leaves great uncertainties for the future of California climate policies and their impact on disadvantaged communities, policy experts at The Greenlining Institute said today.

“While we applaud the legislature for continuing California’s commitment to fighting climate change by putting a price on carbon, this bill leaves legislators and advocates with a huge responsibility to make sure it’s implemented in a way that protects communities hurt first and worst by pollution and climate change,” said Greenlining Institute Environmental Equity Director Alvaro Sanchez.

A number of the measure’s provisions could limit revenues paid by polluters and impede funding for clean energy projects from the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund. These include extensive use of free carbon allowances and a provision that uses GGRF moneys to backfill the loss of revenue from the cancellation of the Fire Prevention Fee and from extending a tax break for manufacturers and energy producers.

Sanchez also sounded the alarm about a proposed constitutional amendment that would require two-thirds legislative approval for GGRF expenditures, and urged Gov. Brown and legislative champions of strong climate policies to forcefully oppose it.

“Taken together, these provisions leave grave doubts about AB 398’s impact on the low-income communities of color that suffer most from pollution and have the most urgent need for clean energy jobs,” Sanchez said. “Officials must make sure that cap-and-trade revenues go to projects that will quickly help clean the air and create opportunities in disadvantaged neighborhoods, and that they adequately fund implementation of AB 617 to enhance air pollution monitoring and planning, and do so with new revenues, not cap-and-trade proceeds.”

Going forward, Sanchez added, the state must study the impact of the updated cap-and-trade program on California’s most vulnerable communities and act to correct any negative effects.