Posted on August 25, 2011 by the Website Workers Council
The following statement was submitted to the California Air Resources Board at a public hearing on August 24, 2011.
The Peace and Freedom Party supports the State of California's goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. We are opposed to market based mechanisms such as carbon credit trading and offset purchases. We believe that only real and measurable regulation, combined with alternative energy development and widespread conservation practices will change our current path of increasing environmental degradation.
The cap and trade policy proposed for adoption in California is fundamentally flawed. It relies on some industrial plants which reduce their emissions below the cap being able to sell their credits to industrial plants which pollute above the cap. The net result is no reduction. And if the pollution reducers cannot find a market for their credits, there will be no incentive for them to further reduce emissions.
Another component of the proposal is the ability to purchase offsets. That means that companies can continue to pollute in our state, as long as they perform some mitigation, such as planting trees, somewhere else. This is a particular concern for areas which already experience public health problems from high level of particulates and poisons in the air. And it is a very likely scenario, since California is planning to partner with six other western states and four Canadian provinces for its cap and trade and offset program.
The cap and trade system is not a new idea which deserves a chance to work. In fact, it has been a proven failure. It was the system established by the Kyoto Protocol, which while not adopted by the United States, was embraced by Japan and the European countries. Emissions in Japan went up 16% while the system was in effect, which was well before the Fukushima nuclear disaster .Most European nations also increased their emissions. The only exception is Great Britain, which experienced a flattening (not a reduction) in emissions, and that is because of its shift from coal to North Sea gas.
The people of California need a real solution to pervasive and increasing pollution. Childhood asthma and other ailments are on the rise, particularly in the Central Valley and urban areas such as Oakland and Los Angeles. And we all face the specter of catastrophic climate change, which most of us agree is caused by human misuse of natural resources.
The Peace and Freedom Party urges the Air Resources Board to reject cap and trade in favor of positive measures to reduce pollution. We have been successful in applying standards for automobile fuel consumption without offering the ability to trade or mitigate. We can similarly (But hopefully more strictly) regulate greenhouse gas emissions.
We can also institute more broad and long range policies. We can establish good clean and efficient public transportation systems. We can build housing close to places of employment. We can put solar panels on rooftops. We can harness wind energy while exercising care not to trap and kill migratory birds. We can farm without using toxic fertilizers and pesticides. We can reduce, reuse and recycle. We do not need to introduce and cap and trade system which has been proven not to work and might possibly exacerbate our present pollution problems.