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Articles by Ken Johnson

I am a California resident and climate policy activist with a particular interest in California's legislative policy related to climate change. (More ...)

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  • Will California’s climate change regulations mandate maximum emission reductions?

    [This post is follow-up to a David Roberts post from Jan. '08: "What does California's climate bill mandate?"]

    Sometime later this month, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) will release its draft "Scoping Plan" on implementation of the state's Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (AB 32), which requires that statewide GHG emissions be reduced to or below 1990-level emissions by 2020.

    AB 32 also requires that the regulations "achieve the maximum technologically feasible and cost-effective greenhouse gas emission reductions." Furthermore, the regulations must be designed "in a manner that is equitable, seeks to minimize costs and maximize the total benefits to California, and encourages early action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions".

    The law authorizes a variety of regulatory measures, but CARB's Scoping Plan effort has focused primarily on cap-and-trade, following the precedent set by the U.S. Acid Rain program. Cap-and-trade can be effective at achieving a specific emission target at minimum cost -- but how does the requirement for maximum emission reductions fit in with this approach?