While Congress dithers, California is moving ahead with its cap and trade plan. Today the state's Economic and Allocation Advisory Committee, which is comprised of economists and environmental experts, made a series of recommendations for the program, including that it auction 100 percent of its emissions allocation allowances. The California Air Resource Board must now decide whether to accept to Committee's recommendations.The auction is expected to bring in about $20 billion per year, 75 percent of which will be returned to California citizens and the rest invested in energy projects and climate change adaptation. The nation's other cap and trade program, known as REGGI and comprised of 9 Northeastern states, brought in about $500 million in its first 15 months.
The Committee is 13 members strong and has such luminaries as Stanford's Lawrence Goulder and Berkeley's Dan Kammen, one of the IPCC's lead authors. The Committee didn't address what would happen if Congress finally acts to put a price on carbon, saying that was beyond the purview.
California's Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger supports the plan as does the General Assembly, which passed the state's global warming bill, AB 32. But that was before the economic downtown the effects of unemployment. California's unemployment rate stands at 12.5 percent.