Controversial Carbon Tax Faces Strong Opposition

carbon-tax-1Despite years of success in doing what it was supposed to do — cut emission levels — California’s controversial cap-and-trade system has run up against opposition that could be strong enough to sink it. But with nothing to lose and everything to gain, Gov. Jerry Brown has shifted into political overdrive to save it instead.

Big plans

Through the California Air Resources Board, Brown’s administration has tried to restore confidence among big California businesses that the state’s carbon-trading regime is here to stay. Amendments to the cap-and-trade rules proposed by CARB “envision a carbon market through 2050 with increasing allowance prices,” according to Scientific American. But legal uncertainty has clouded CARB’s ability to promulgate such regulations beyond the year 2020, “thanks to a combination of potentially limiting language in the original climate law, AB32, and a lawsuit challenging the legality of cap-and-trade auctions under a law requiring a two-thirds legislative majority to approve taxes,” the magazine added.

“The amendments released [last month] would establish decreasing emissions caps for covered entities through 2031, to reach 40 percent below 1990 levels, and would include preliminary caps through 2050 ‘to signal the long-term trajectory of the program to inform investment decisions.’ Other proposed amendments would provide for compliance with U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Plan for existing power plants, allocate allowances to businesses in order to prevent emissions from escaping state borders, and streamline how emitters register and participate in auctions.”

Backrooms to ballots

Despite broad support for an extended cap-and-trade system among influential Democrats, whose grip on Sacramento is virtually unchallenged, California’s legislative counsel has sided against CARB on the extension plan. “Meanwhile, a lawsuit from the California Chamber of Commerce charges that the permit fees are a tax and should have required a two-thirds vote in the Legislature to take effect,” as the San Francisco Chronicle reported. “Although the suit has dragged on for nearly four years, questions raised by an appeals court judge in April suggested that he might side with the chamber.”

The ordeal has presented Gov. Jerry Brown with a potentially devastating threat to one of his keystone policies. Although the governor “has been trying to muster support from at least two-thirds of the Legislature, in case the Chamber of Commerce wins its suit, […] convincing Republicans and business-friendly Democrats hasn’t been easy,” the paper added. “And the current legislative session ends Aug. 31.” Beyond the obvious challenge of securing Republican support, Brown must contend with members of his own party, who have split awkwardly on cap-and-trade since before its inception.

“When the law enabling cap and trade was being argued over, the whole progressive left-of-the-left were pretty suspicious of carbon trading,” as Stanford Law energy expert Michael Wara told Wired. “So the law’s authors offered a compromise: the state Legislature would re-evaluate cap and trade in 2020,” the magazine noted. “It didn’t seem like a big gamble at the time.” But Brown’s determination to use revenues from the program to fund his cherished high-speed rail project — according to environmentalists, not the greenest expenditure to choose from — added another political wrinkle.

Now, the prospect of a drawn-out loss in the Legislature has raised speculation that Brown will respond, in a manner somewhat reminiscent of former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, by taking his plans directly to the voters. Preparing for a showdown, Brown has launched — perhaps for the last time as governor — back into campaign mode. “Mr. Brown last week created a PAC, Californians for a Clean Environment, signaling he may turn to voters for support to extend cap and trade and the state’s emissions-reduction goals through a ballot initiative,” the Wall Street Journal recalled. “The program is particularly important to Mr. Brown, as profits help fund the state’s planned bullet train, among other goals by the state’s Democrats.”

Within the Brown camp, however, the official line has remained more optimistic than the ballot preparations might suggest. “There is no state or nation in the Western Hemisphere doing more to curb carbon pollution and our dangerous addiction to oil than California,” said Brown’s executive secretary, Nancy McFadden, in a statement noted by the Journal. “The governor will continue working with the legislature to get this done this year, next year or on the ballot in 2018.”

This piece was originally published by CalWatchdog.com

Comments

  1. And why are Jerry the Splendid and his toady’s Mary Nichols of CARB and (Tax) de Leon ignoring the repeated requests from the Little Hoover Commission to do a cost/benefit study on this boondoggle? Because they know there is NO benefit to the sheeple. The contribution from California amounts to a drop in the bucket to the world. Now after finding out there has been no increase in temperature since the last century (German scientists found that NASA/NOAA have lowered many of the early century readings to make the current ones hotter!) Furthermore mankind only contributes 6% of the CO2 going into the atmosphere. The other 94% comes from nature (saltwater on limestone deposits). This scheme was voted down in Congress and is just about gone from European countries because it didn’t work. Knowing this the three aforementioned buffoons are doing their best to drive as many companies out of the State as they can. How dumb are the sheeple for continuing to elect fools like these. And Harris, Newsom and other super liberals are chomping at the bit for the 2018 elections!

  2. And in case no one noticed, the picture above is STEAM not deadly polluting “CO2”. This is another trick they use to castigate refineries and businesses.

  3. “…years of success in doing what it was supposed to do — cut emission levels…”

    Hogwash!
    If there have been any cuts in emissions levels, that it was accomplished during a “Cap&Trade” regime/scheme is purely coincidental. All that C&T has accomplished is the transfer of money from one set of pockets into another set – with the appropriate “vig” being extracted from the transaction along the way to the benefit of government actors.
    And, Yes!, as it is a tax on economic activity, it does require a 2/3’s vote in the affirmative by the Legislature, or the People.

  4. James Healey says

    NO MORE TAXES!!! CUT THEM, DO NOT INCREASE THEM!!

  5. This is total nonsense and a fraud. The facts are very simple:

    CO2 is a “trace gas” in air and is insignificant by definition. It would have to be increased by a factor of 2500 to be considered “significant” or “notable.” To give it the great power claimed is a crime against physical science.

    CO2 absorbs 1/7th as much IR, heat energy, from sunlight per molecule as water vapor which has 188 times as many molecules capturing 1200 times as much heat producing 99.9% of all “global warming.” CO2 does only 0.1% of it. Pushing panic about any effect CO2 could have is clearly a fraud.

    There is no “greenhouse effect” in an atmosphere. A greenhouse has a solid, clear cover trapping heat. The atmosphere does not trap heat as gas molecules cannot form surfaces to work as greenhouses that admit and reflect energy depending on sun angle. Gases do not form surfaces as their molecules are not in contact.

    The Medieval Warming from 800 AD to 1300 AD Micheal Mann erased for his “hockey stick” was several Fahrenheit degrees warmer than anything “global warmers” fear. It was 500 years of world peace and abundance, longest ever.

    Vostock Ice Core data analysis show CO2 rises followed temperature by 800 years 19 times in 450,000 years. Therefore temperature change is cause and CO2 change is effect. This alone refutes the anthropogenic global warming hypothesis.

    Methane is called “a greenhouse gas 20 to 500 times more potent than CO2,” by Heidi Cullen and Jim Hansen, but it is not per the energy absorption chart at the American Meteorological Society. It has an absorption profile very similar to nitrogen which is classified “transparent” to IR, heat waves and is only present to 18 ppm. “Vegans” blame methane in cow flatulence for global warming in their war against meat consumption.

    Carbon combustion generates 80% of our energy. Control and taxing of carbon would give the elected ruling class more power and money than anything since the Magna Carta of 1215 AD.

    Most scientists and science educators work for tax supported institutions. They are eager to help government raise more money for them and they love being seen as “saving the planet.”

    Read the whole story in “Vapor Tiger” at Amazon.com, Kindle $2.99 including a free Kindle reading program for your computer.

    Google “Two Minute Conservative” for more.

  6. Sebra Leaves says

    The left of the left and many environmentalists do not trust the governor or his idea of what is truly clean and green.
    One suspects he is unaware of the negative effects his policies are having and a ballot initiative might be the best way to set him straight.
    There are far too many forced lifestyle changes and shifts in the economy being brought on by the administration’s rush to build, build, build.
    There is not a lot of difference between drilling and building. Both expand the wealth of the wealthy and leave most people out in the cold.

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