Carbon Cap & Trade Builds Global Momentum

By EV World Editorial Staff Policymakers in Washington, D.C. might be mired in the politics of intransigence, especially when it comes to carbon dioxide emissions, but California and nine U.S. states in northeast aren’t. They are taking action by implementing carbon cap & trade auctions to begin to reign in emissions of the climate-altering greenhouse gas, which just climbed past 400 parts per million (ppm) in Earth’s atmosphere – a concentration not seen in literally millions of years. And they aren’t alone, cities, regions and nations around the planet are starting to take similar action and what is emerging, according to Silvio Marccaci, is the beginning of a global trading system that will eventually link China, Australia, the European Union, and others, including those U.S. states and Canadian provinces astute and prescient enough to join in. Marcacci is a Washington, D.C.-based analyst who closely follows the Cap & Trade scene and writes about it for The Energy Collective and CleanTechnica websites. It was his article in the latter online publication about California’s recent, and third, carbon allowance auction that attracted EV World’s attention. Launched in 2012, the auction, which has the force of state law behind it, has completely sold out of its allowances at more than $14 a ton. That’s above the $10 floor. It turns out that what California is doing is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg, which might be a endangered metaphor, itself, on a warming planet. There are various carbon trading schemes popping up all around the planet. In fact, in a subsequent article appearing in the same publication, he reports that the World Bank has now identified 60 carbon pricing systems that are either already in place, like California’s or the even older Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, known as RGGI (pronounced ‘Reggie’), which is comprised of nine member states in the U.S. northeast, or are set to take effect shortly. Conservatives have long criticized such schemes as harming the global competitiveness of the United States. Fossil fuel lobbyists and their political allies have long thwarted efforts to implement either Cap & Trade or carbon taxes at the national level. Even President Barrack Obama has let it be known he won’t be spending on political capital on it. But then he may not have to, because states may be solving the problem among themselves, and with surprising economic payoffs. Marccaci points out that the one sector of California’s economy that has grown through the recession has been its ‘green’ energy sector from smart grid start-up in Silicon Valley to solar installers in San Diego, business is booming, in part because of the state’s progressive policies. One of those policies is to take the proceeds from the auctions and return 85% of it back to California rate payers in the form of a twice yearly credit on their utility bills. The remaining 15% is used to continue the build-out of green energy technologies. Meanwhile, pollution-wracked China recently announced that it, too, would be placing a cap on carbon emissions, joining up with the EU in a pan-continent trading system. Australia’s flawed carbon tax is being transitioned to a Cap & Trade system that will tie into one with New Zealand. The national governments of Chile, Brazil, Turkey and Ukraine, and Japan are reportedly considering creating similar systems. South Korea’s system is already in place and set to take effect. In this nearly 30 minute-long conversation with EV World’s publisher Bill Moore, Marcacci makes the case that what we’re seeing is the beginning to a global system to control and steadily begin to ratchet-down carbon emissions on a planetary scale, driven by the realization that if we don’t reign in CO2 we are on a path to average global temperatures which will make human civilization, as we know it, impossible to maintain. In his “World Bank Finds 60 Carbon Pricing Systems” article, Marccaci concludes: “If enough carbon pricing systems are online or planned by the next United Nations climate meetings, the power of international carbon markets as an economic and environmental stimulus may be too hard to ignore.” Taylor Scott International

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