California Wins With Bipartisan Cap-and-Trade Bill

By Dorothy Rothrock

***Editor’s Note: The following article is one viewpoint on the cap-and-trade bill (AB 398) signed by Governor Jerry Brown this year. The bill is the topic of our Head to Head feature for August. On August 30, an opposing viewpoint was published in the article Justice Deferred: A Break Down of California’s Cap & Trade Bill From the Environmental Justice Perspective.

In 2016, California adopted an ambitious new goal to significantly reduce climate change emissions by 2030 under SB 32 by former Senator Fran Pavley. Reaching that goal will require faster and deeper emission cuts than it takes to get to the original AB 32 goal in 2020.

Managing the costs of climate change compliance is important to all California families because the costs of addressing climate change, including for fuel and electricity, are passed through in the products we buy every day. The cap-and-trade bill (AB 398) that a large bipartisan group of legislators passed and Gov. Jerry Brown signed this year provides the lowest-cost path to reach our ambitious goals.

Cap-and-trade is the most cost-effective emission reduction approach to support job-creating industries, protect consumers from unnecessarily high fuel and electricity prices and set a positive example nationally and internationally. Under a cap-and-trade program, the average annual household costs to meet California’s goal are lowered by $2,300, according to a recent study done by the National Economic Research Associates firm.

This groundbreaking legislation also does what the original architects of climate change policy wanted. It creates a durable program that can be used as a model by other states and nations. We all understand that the idea of reducing global emissions only works if the rest of the world follows.

We are pleased that a broad coalition of legislators, both Republicans and Democrats, came together to negotiate the extension of cap and trade. It will take more bipartisan efforts like this to monitor the implementation, analyze the impacts and provide oversight to reach our goals.

The California Manufacturers Technology Association will be working with California communities, the agencies and other stakeholders to ensure that an energy-efficient and clean manufacturing sector remains a growing part of the California economy.

Dorothy Rothrock is the President of the California Manufacturers & Technology Association. The opinions in this article are presented in the spirit of spurring discussion and reflect those of the author and not necessarily the Treasurer, his office or the State of California.