Bill Would Create Bold, Stable Carbon Pricing Mechanism
SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA – The California Climate Equity Coalition today released the following statement regarding SB 775, the measure introduced by Sen. Bob Wieckowsk (D-Fremont) to overhaul and extend the state’s cap-and-trade program. The California Climate Equity Coalition is an alliance of over 150 organizations across the state that works to ensure successful implementation of climate investments to disadvantaged and low-income communities, as originally established under SB 535 (De León) and AB 1550 (Gomez):
SB 775 Would Create Bold, Stable Carbon Pricing Mechanism
The steering committee of the California Climate Equity Coalition (CCEC) is encouraged by the ambitious direction of SB 775 (Wieckowski) that will put a higher price on carbon, more effectively reduce greenhouse gas pollution, and create more market certainty. CCEC believes policies addressing climate change must prioritize the communities hit first and worst by pollution, poverty and climate change. We hope that SB 775 will create stability in revenues for investments that benefit underserved communities and households. We also look forward to working with the legislature to ensure that the framework for equitable climate investment contained within SB 535 (De León) and AB 1550 (Gomez) is clearly affirmed and prioritized in implementation of SB 775.
SB 775 sends a much-needed, strong carbon pricing signal that will drive down greenhouse gas emissions. The current price of carbon is too low to generate meaningful pollution reduction or significant revenues. As a result, we have seen decreased auction revenues severely limit the ability of existing climate investment programs to significantly address the needs of California’s most polluted and impoverished communities. By setting a higher price on carbon, we are confident that SB 775 will significantly increase the cost of greenhouse gas pollution and put California on the path to better achieve our ambitious carbon targets. Moreover, this carbon pricing signal will generate much needed revenue for critical investments that provide health, economic, and environmental benefits for underserved communities and households.
The elimination of free allowances, allowance banking, and offsets will prevent polluters from continuing to pollute as usual. We feel confident that these reforms will rapidly reduce carbon consumption and allow California to not only meet but exceed its emissions reduction target under SB 32. Now more than ever, California needs to continue leading the nation and the world in creating serious climate policies, and it has done so by closing long-standing loopholes in the current cap-and-trade system.
Thanks to SB 535 and AB 1550, California has also led the way in the fight against climate change by ensuring that putting a price on carbon brings targeted investments that further reduce greenhouse emissions while also benefitting neighborhoods most harmed by pollution and poverty. CCEC looks forward to working with the legislature to ensure that a post-2020 carbon pricing system also will result in equitable climate investments. Building on SB 535 and AB 1550, at least 35 percent of the funds generated through cap-and-trade should continue to be directed to those communities that breathe the dirtiest air and have the greatest economic needs.
Similarly, we support a means-tested dividend that focuses on low-income households most burdened by energy costs as the primary beneficiaries. Dividends to individuals should be balanced by continuing robust public investments that will help Californians transition to a clean energy economy, including clean transportation, affordable housing near transit, transit operations and passes, urban forestry, energy efficiency and solar.
We thank Senator Wieckowski and Senate President pro Tem de León for their leadership in bringing a bold and stable carbon pricing system to California. We believe SB 775 can enable California to continue on the strong path that our state has set to fight against climate change. Looking forward, CCEC is committed to working with the legislature to ensure that California continues to invest significant resources for communities that have been harmed first and worst by poverty and pollution.