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How California's Carbon Market Actually Works

Soulskill posted about a month and a half ago | from the bait-and-switch dept.

Earth 97

Lasrick writes: Almost 10 years ago, California's legislature passed Assembly Bill 32, the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006. AB 32 set the most ambitious legally binding climate policy in the United States, requiring that California's greenhouse gas emissions return to 1990 levels by the year 2020. The centerpiece of the state's efforts — in rhetorical terms, if not practical ones — is a comprehensive carbon market, which California's leaders promote as a model policy for controlling carbon pollution. Over the course of the past 18 months, however, California quietly changed its approach to a critical rule affecting the carbon market's integrity. Under the new rule, utilities are rewarded for swapping contracts on the Western electricity grid, without actually reducing greenhouse gas emissions to the atmosphere. Now that the Environmental Protection Agency is preparing to regulate greenhouse gases from power plants, many are looking to the Golden State for best climate policy practices. On that score, California's experience offers cautionary insights into the challenges of using carbon markets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

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try BitCoin next time (-1, Troll)

turkeydance (1266624) | about a month and a half ago | (#47680775)

it's as reliable as CA's system

Re:try BitCoin next time (1)

MightyYar (622222) | about a month and a half ago | (#47680791)

If you read the article, they are complaining that CA's system does not affect out-of-state emissions.

Duh.

Re:try BitCoin next time (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about a month and a half ago | (#47681015)

If you read the article, they are complaining that CA's system does not affect out-of-state emissions.

That is a legitimate complaint. CO2 knows no borders, so just shifting the emissions elsewhere accomplishes nothing, and is actually counter productive because it shifts jobs, economic growth and influence away from people that care. But we shouldn't put all the ridicule on California, since the EUs carbon trading scheme is also a fiasco.

CO2 emissions are declining in California, and in America as a whole. This is mostly because of the shale gas revolution, but also because of more efficient cars, and improving household energy efficiency. The carbon market has had no measurable effect. The big growth in CO2 emissions are in China, India, and Africa. Solutions that don't work there are not going to help much.

Re: try BitCoin next time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47681131)

Shanghai Bill. Never get tired of reading your constant posts on anything the heartland foundation needs some grassroots support. How much did you pay for the Slashdot uid?

Re:try BitCoin next time (1)

Mr D from 63 (3395377) | about a month and a half ago | (#47681207)

Bingo. You hit the target. Local solutions are just window dressing, the problem is global and solution need to address the global scale and situation.

Re:try BitCoin next time (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47682099)

I agree. A "one family, one child" policy enforced at gunpoint should cut down on the root cause of all pollution - humans.

Re:try BitCoin next time (1)

gtall (79522) | about a month and a half ago | (#47682351)

Nope. Those are radically different continents and cultures. To expect a single global solution to rule them all is a recipe for doing nothing. What's needed are different solutions targeted at the different cultures in those places. Put another way, look how effective the U.N. is in getting global cooperation on anything.

Re:try BitCoin next time (3, Insightful)

MightyYar (622222) | about a month and a half ago | (#47681611)

CO2 knows no borders

What you said is true, but obvious. Effectiveness on global CO2 levels aside, the CA program has been a success by other measures. They intended it to be a pilot program, and it looks like it has mostly worked out from a technical standpoint. They have demonstrated that the system is workable from an administrative and bureaucratic standpoint. Few people are silly enough to think that CO2 emissions can be handled on a local (or even national) level - but having what is effectively one of the largest economies in the world to use as an example is a pretty good start.

Re:try BitCoin next time (1)

Jason Goatcher (3498937) | about a month and a half ago | (#47681811)

The only reason China has the largest emissions is because they have a ton of people that want the benefits of this modern age. If you compare carbon emissions to population, I believe(not sure if it's still true) that we in the US are the worst CO2 emitters. Also, if I'm not mistaken, China has put a ton of money into alternative energy research.

So...Despite the fact that China's the leading emitter, they're also the #1 leader in trying to solve the problem.

Re:try BitCoin next time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47682117)

Germany called; they're very unhappy that you dissed them.

Re:try BitCoin next time (1)

budgenator (254554) | about a month and a half ago | (#47682805)

Acording to jaxa data Australia and South America are actually a carbon sink and North America is the lowest of the net emitters even Europe has higher net emmission. I'm quite anxious for the OCO-2 data to start coming in.

Is this really a surprise (1)

I'm New Around Here (1154723) | about a month and a half ago | (#47680809)

I mean, really. Who thought that would never happen?

Soulskill's Gay Sex Natural Gas Market (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47680827)

He farts when I have gay sex with him. This releases methane as Soulskill is a ruminant. Or remnant from fossil fueled idiotic editors. SUCK IT, SLASHDOTTTT!!!!

Re:Soulskill's Gay Sex Natural Gas Market (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47680945)

You need to go to trolling school.. You're not pissing me off I feel sorry for you.

Re:Is this really a surprise (1)

digsbo (1292334) | about a month and a half ago | (#47681399)

Pretty much everybody who never read Hazlitt. Or, more accurately, people who would refuse to read Hazlitt.

Re:Is this really a surprise (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a month and a half ago | (#47683299)

I think you mis-read GP. It would be a surprise to those people, yes. And I think it's legit to include many who haven't read Hazlitt. An awful lot of people get their ideas from the TV these days. And guess what kind of BS the news tends to spout, in the days of a "Progressive" administration?

Re:Is this really a surprise (1)

digsbo (1292334) | about a month and a half ago | (#47685605)

I think you mis-read GP.

You do? I don't understand why. I think we're in agreement. I wasn't being sarcastic.

And guess what kind of BS the news tends to spout, in the days of a "Progressive" administration?

Let me think...Thomas Paine style classical liberalism? No, not that...

Re:Is this really a surprise (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a month and a half ago | (#47686317)

You do? I don't understand why. I think we're in agreement. I wasn't being sarcastic.

Yes, I think we are in agreement. I just thought your comment was awkwardly worded.

Let me think...Thomas Paine style classical liberalism? No, not that...

Um... just no. The press which follows the current administration (which means most of it) has been spouting pretty much the OPPOSITE of "classical liberalism", which today is called libertarian.

Re:Is this really a surprise (0)

digsbo (1292334) | about a month and a half ago | (#47689713)

Yes, I think we are in agreement. I just thought your comment was awkwardly worded.

Yes, it was.

Um... just no. The press which follows the current administration (which means most of it) has been spouting pretty much the OPPOSITE of "classical liberalism", which today is called libertarian.

I know. I was being sarcastic. I'm pretty radically libertarian in my thinking, and was making a joke about the perversion of the meaning of "liberal". I definitely feel the progressives dominate in the "redefine words to make people think you're good" department. So much so that to simply state facts clearly is now a socially punishable offense.

Re:Is this really a surprise (0)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a month and a half ago | (#47704617)

I was being sarcastic.

I guess I missed the sarcasm. I'm usually pretty good at picking up on it, but I slip occasionally.

California At It Again (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47680811)

They pass a law that gives people warm fuzzy feelings, but doesn't actually DO anything. Who knew?

Re:California At It Again (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | about a month and a half ago | (#47680927)

In the months leading up to the beginning of the market's first compliance period, several stakeholders objected to the resource shuffling rules and began agitating for reforms.

An effective law was passed and the regulated companies neutered the law through lobbying.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regulatory_capture [wikipedia.org]

Re:California At It Again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47681033)

It will raise energy prices that will hit the low income households particularly hard.

Re:California At It Again (1)

towermac (752159) | about a month and a half ago | (#47682609)

The answer to that is a simple flat carbon tax.

Lobby all you want, you might even get the rate changed, for next year. But this year's rate is this year's rate. We're all paying it, and bitching about it, and gas is $.50 higher or whatever, and heating oil is higher, and coal gets hit the hardest. Everybody pays the same, because the carbon is taxed at the source.

Notice the first thing they have to do, is throw out equality under the law. This government created scheme of carbon markets only applies to the emitters, and polluters, and whoever else they lay down in their narrow and specific hundreds of pages legislation; it doesn't apply to everyone else. If this BS applied to everybody, they wouldn't stand for it, and carry signs if they had to, to get the law changed to something reasonable. Nobody cares about what are seemingly minor regulations that apply only to power companies or big business or whoever. As long as it's not you.

Pass a good, simple law, that applies to every living soul in the land, and it will be effective.

Re:California At It Again (1)

sg_oneill (159032) | about a month and a half ago | (#47683801)

The answer to that is a simple flat carbon tax.

Unless your in australia and the denialist conspiracy theorists get into power howling about the "big new tax" and just scrap it with no replacement.

Re:California At It Again (1)

budgenator (254554) | about a month and a half ago | (#47684433)

Australian is a net CO2 sink, and the globe hasn't warmed for almost 18 years anyway; so I don't understant your point. Another thing is that conspiracy theorists amongst those you call denialist has been very throughly debunked, in fact 100% of "denialist" agree that man has caused some warming due to CO2 vs. 97% of Warmist agree with that statement! And before you go all conspiracy theorist about "Big Oil/Coal Shills" the CRU [uea.ac.uk] gets considerable funding from evil "Big Oil/Coal".

Re:California At It Again (2)

towermac (752159) | about a month and a half ago | (#47689881)

They might, as they might here in the States.

I might even be in that group; I pay out the ass in taxes now; I don't want new ones.

Nevertheless, it would still be good law, and if it was worth it, my conservative ass would sign off on it, but political compromises would have to be made.

What if you traded it for some other tax? Pick an big, unpopular one. I've got a good one... The 35% corporate income tax.

Heresy? The Republicans would be jizzing their panties for the chance to combat man-made climate change. Worth it?

This would be where you separate the men from the boys, or rather; the socialists from the true greens. (Greens don't have to be socialists.)

Seems like it would've worked (3, Informative)

Joe Gillian (3683399) | about a month and a half ago | (#47680843)

The thing is, it seems from the paper like the cap-and-trade system California has works - it's just that other states don't have the same system and thus there isn't much of an impact. It would be interesting to see a group of neighboring states (perhaps New England) try this method and see how it works when they can't meet their emissions goals by offloading their emissions to states that don't have a cap-and-trade policy in place.

Re:Seems like it would've worked (3, Informative)

MightyYar (622222) | about a month and a half ago | (#47680913)

Well, here you go! [rggi.org]

On the surface, it has been quite successful. But you have to remember that most of the reduction has come from natural gas displacing coal - which thanks to fracking would have happened even without the carbon trading.

Re:Seems like it would've worked (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47680947)

If the whole country had cap and trade it would just end a bunch of jobs because energy would be one thing more to add to the why it's cheaper to offshore list.

Re:Seems like it would've worked (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47681037)

I can see it now--we'll have trans-Pacific transmission lines from India and China!

Re:Seems like it would've worked (4, Insightful)

Cyberdyne (104305) | about a month and a half ago | (#47681229)

I can see it now--we'll have trans-Pacific transmission lines from India and China!

No, just more imported products of energy-intensive industrial processes, like steel and aluminum. It's already happening to an alarming extent in Europe for exactly that reason, with large metal-working plants (which can consume hundreds of megawatts each) getting moved overseas. Just because you can't import the electricity itself doesn't mean the resulting products have to be made in the US!

Re:Seems like it would've worked (2)

Jason Goatcher (3498937) | about a month and a half ago | (#47681873)

Google the company uses a ton of electricity for it's servers, but they simply chose to put their biggest server farm near a dam in Dallas so that they could benefit from the renewable energy. Not every company will do that.

Plus, the government could simply offer exceptions to companies that don't have an available alternative.

Re: Seems like it would've worked (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47682799)

Except that carbon free energy was already being used - so no - they did not contribute to reducing co2 emissions. Now if they built their own solar farms - put in anaerobic digesters in Hereford - then you can claim to have done something.

Re:Seems like it would've worked (1)

excelsior_gr (969383) | about a month and a half ago | (#47683975)

Correct. Now the question is, where does the energy in those countries comes from? Sadly, much of it comes from coal, but e.g. in Norway a huge amount comes from hydroelectric plants. That is why oil refining and metalworking is a large industry in Norway.

Re:Seems like it would've worked (1)

Cyberdyne (104305) | about a month and a half ago | (#47688809)

Sadly, much of it comes from coal, but e.g. in Norway a huge amount comes from hydroelectric plants. That is why oil refining and metalworking is a large industry in Norway.

Yes, Norway's quite good in that respect - as is the US Pacific North-West, as I recall: the abundant hydro-electric power gave Microsoft and Amazon a cheap, clean electricity supply for their early "cloud" offerings. Eroded now by global expansion, I think: once they built huge hosting sites elsewhere, they used whatever power was present in that area, usually something much less clean. Of course, Norwegian oil refining activity will also be boosted significantly by the small detail of having a major oil supply, unlike other European countries...

I've seen a few hosting outfits offering "carbon neutral" services, which I think you can do quite affordably by locating somewhere with suitable clean power. A bit of a niche market compared to more mainstream hosting services, but there's obviously some demand there.

In a sense, CA is getting what it voted for: stamping out "dirty" industry. Other countries are getting what their governments want/permit: economic growth, regardless of CO2 etc. I suspect both will regret it to some extent and change course: China has a major smog problem and is trying to clean up, CA has a major economic problem and power shortfall and will have to give that a higher priority soon, if it isn't already.

Re:Seems like it would've worked (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47681595)

Cap and Trade has already worked (including in New England) with NOx and SOx pollution (remember "acid rain"?). EPA rules for cap and trade and then the so-called Transport Rule resulted in significant reductions in these emissions a LONG time ago.

Right Wing Nut: "CAP AND TRADE WILL NEVER WORK!!!1!!"

Me: "It already did, and it's a market-driven solution!"

Right Wing Nut: "FACTS HAZ A LIBERUL BIAS!!!11!!"

Re:Seems like it would've worked (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47681889)

CO2 hasn't been proven to be a pollutant. Cap and trade is a tax on the poor and middle class disguised as something else. Why do you think liberals name call anyone who points out no global warming over 17 years despite Al Gore's graph showing it should be accelerating?

The left has lied, been caught, and is in denial.

then how about you prove it (1)

publiclurker (952615) | about a month and a half ago | (#47681983)

by placing a plastic bag over your head until you are no longer a bother to anyone.

Is it really a problem? (4, Informative)

Ichijo (607641) | about a month and a half ago | (#47680857)

For years, Southern California Edison imported electricity from the Four Corners Power Plant, a coal-fired facility in northwestern New Mexico... [a few months after the carbon market took effect in 2013] the company sold its interest in the coal plant to an Arizona utility (APS, 2013)... this transaction will not reduce net greenhouse gas emissions to the atmosphere. The coal plant will keep emitting pollution just as before--only now it serves customers in Arizona, not California.

As other states follow California's lead, it will become more and more difficult for coal plants to stay in operation.

Re:Is it really a problem? (4, Informative)

TubeSteak (669689) | about a month and a half ago | (#47680949)

As other states follow California's lead, it will become more and more difficult for coal plants to stay in operation.

The Clean Air Act was passed in 1970.
Existing coal plants were grandfathered in, with the assumption that they'd eventually be upgraded or replaced.
Instead, the coal industry has been operating the same dirty plants for >40 years.

The only reason "it will become more and more difficult for coal plants to stay in operation" is because the EPA has set a date for the closure of this loophole.

Related reading: The Coal Industry Has Been Fear-Mongering for 40 Years Now [newrepublic.com]

Re:Is it really a problem? (1)

iggymanz (596061) | about a month and a half ago | (#47681103)

plenty of new plants built since 1970, amount of electricity from coal almost tripled, peaking in 2007 but now declining.

Something has to generate the 39% of electricity that is currently coal powered. Nuclear? Massive trillion dollar plus solar farm in the west?

Re:Is it really a problem? (3, Interesting)

gurps_npc (621217) | about a month and a half ago | (#47681447)

Natural Gas. Process is already under way.

But nuclear would also work. Massive wind and solar farms are not commercially viable - when compared to natural gas. If you compare them to coal, they sometimes make sense.

But solar's real benefit is not massive farms, but instead point of use installations in high sunlight areas. This save the transmission wastage (use lose significant amount of power per mile transmitted), which can often just make it viable. The only real thing holding that back is the utilities, as the people that use it often need a utility hookup for times when the sun is not shining, like night time.

In Florida, the utilities have successfully sued people over installing solar power, but that is beginning to change as the laws were altered to stop them from doing this.

Re:Is it really a problem? (1)

Firethorn (177587) | about a month and a half ago | (#47681625)

In Florida, the utilities have successfully sued people over installing solar power, but that is beginning to change as the laws were altered to stop them from doing this.

Citation on this?

Re:Is it really a problem? (3, Informative)

tsqr (808554) | about a month and a half ago | (#47681717)

In Florida, the utilities have successfully sued people over installing solar power, but that is beginning to change as the laws were altered to stop them from doing this.

Citation on this?

Here you go. [flaseia.org]

Re:Is it really a problem? (1)

Firethorn (177587) | about a month and a half ago | (#47682237)

That's not a citation of utilities suing people over solar power, much less successfully. It's not even a citation of laws preventing utilities from suing people over installing solar power, more preventing HOAs and such.

Re:Is it really a problem? (2)

Applehu Akbar (2968043) | about a month and a half ago | (#47681849)

Developing a domestic PV panel industry, fueled by domestic rare earth minerals, would help a lot here.

Re:Is it really a problem? (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | about a month and a half ago | (#47681885)

Developing a domestic PV panel industry, fueled by domestic rare earth minerals, would help a lot here.

You'd still need to process those rare earth metals.
And (for now) you can't do that without the ore passing through a Chinese owned refinery.

Re:Is it really a problem? (2)

dbIII (701233) | about a month and a half ago | (#47683789)

It existed but was killed off by politics to keep oil donors happy. Now it's a bit late to compete with an industry in China that had all of it's technology handed to it on a plate and it's competition removed.

Re:Is it really a problem? (0)

Firethorn (177587) | about a month and a half ago | (#47681619)

plenty of new plants built since 1970, amount of electricity from coal almost tripled, peaking in 2007 but now declining.

The problem was that the the grandfathering resulted in a situation where running the old dirty nasty power plant was more financially viable than building a new cleaner plant that wasn't quite up to EPA requirements. Another side benefit seen in multiple industries, for example the near death of steel production in the USA is that the older plants, even grandfathered, couldn't compete with newer plants outside of the USA that were, in many cases, operating cleaner than grandfathered US plants but dirtier than EPA requirements for a new plant.

As for the 39% of coal electricity? I'd go with a mix of natural gas, nuclear, and renewables. Eventually get rid of the natural gas. My 'ideal' non-carbon based electricity system is approximately 40% nuclear(up from 20%), 20% solar, 20% wind, and 20% other to include hydro-electric.

Re:Is it really a problem? (1)

Jason Goatcher (3498937) | about a month and a half ago | (#47681891)

If we used batteries to store excess coal plant electricity, wouldn't that cut down on overall usage of coal?

I'm asking the forum, it's simply something I'm throwing out there.

Re:Is it really a problem? (2)

gtall (79522) | about a month and a half ago | (#47682369)

The EPA and the fact that the gas industry is eating coal's lunch. Coal also has a lot of problem that companies must deal with like fouling streams when one of their coal slurry dams breaks. And getting your gas from a pipeline is a lot cheaper than sending coal via rail cars.

Those plants are not quite the same (2)

dbIII (701233) | about a month and a half ago | (#47683781)

Electrostatic precipitators, scrubbers and even bag filters have gone into those things which is why the USA was able to point the finger at the air quality in Beijing without the finger getting pointed back.
They don't do anything at all to carbon dioxide though.

Re:Is it really a problem? (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about a month and a half ago | (#47681247)

For years, Southern California Edison imported electricity from the Four Corners Power Plant, a coal-fired facility in northwestern New Mexico... [a few months after the carbon market took effect in 2013] the company sold its interest in the coal plant to an Arizona utility (APS, 2013)... this transaction will not reduce net greenhouse gas emissions to the atmosphere. The coal plant will keep emitting pollution just as before--only now it serves customers in Arizona, not California.

As other states follow California's lead, it will become more and more difficult for coal plants to stay in operation.

No it wont. Cap and "trade" will never work. They'll just trade their pollution to people less likely to report what they're up to. Remember Carbon Credits? Pay someone in Columbia to plant trees for you? How many of those trees do you think actually got planted? If you want to do something about CO2 output, the feds need to monitor and test power plants CO2 output yearly, then charge a tax for mitigation. You have to pay for CO2 sequestration or other mitigating techniques. The feds then need to hire/pay a 3rd party to scrub that CO2 from the atmosphere. Then the market will naturally shift away from CO2 as the costs of it become real.
The feds will also need to charge for the CO2 expended to manufacture goods, refine oils outside the country. Otherwise industries will simply move out of the country to avoid the tax. Not that I think managing CO2 use will work all that well, but this is the only way it will have any chance at all.

Re:Is it really a problem? (1)

Applehu Akbar (2968043) | about a month and a half ago | (#47681825)

And meanwhile, the same Navajo reservation that produces all the coal is also a major source of uranium. US politics being what it is, that gets sold to France while Four Corners gives us smog in the Grand Canyon.

More and more rolling blackouts will follow. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47683257)

As other states follow California's lead, more and more rolling blackouts will follow.

Think of the children!! (0, Flamebait)

Snotnose (212196) | about a month and a half ago | (#47680859)

Or terrorists, whichever works better for this particular feel-good do-nothing PoS legislation.

La la land (2, Insightful)

Tailhook (98486) | about a month and a half ago | (#47680863)

CA makes fantasy laws that have to be papered over when the dates arrive. News at 11.

The ZEV (zero emissions vehicles) mandates they've been backpedaling on for twenty years are another fine example. Physics and CA voters frequently do not agree on reality. When that happens physics wins. Every time.

Re:La la land (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47681169)

EVs are possible. And when the naysayers and trolls get out of the way, they happen. And when car makers put electric drive into a cool looking car or practical truck for a real cost, then they will take off. Why can I convert a pickup for $15,000, but it would probably cost $40,000 to buy the same parts in a OEM vehicle?

Re:La la land (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47682553)

Why don't you just imprison or execute those untermenschen who keep foiling your utopian plans? That's the only, likely way they will be implemented. Helpful hint: bring lots of guns and patience.

Re:La la land (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47684565)

Oh, the Dems surely plan on doing that.

Re:La la land (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47682163)

CA makes fantasy laws that have to be papered over when the dates arrive. News at 11.

The ZEV (zero emissions vehicles) mandates they've been backpedaling on for twenty years are another fine example. Physics and CA voters frequently do not agree on reality. When that happens physics wins. Every time.

And yet somehow, I drive my Prius Plugin to BART everyday for two years and have never needed gasoline to do it.
yes.. pure fantasy.

Re:La la land (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47682251)

Hey look, another Prius driver that doesn't realize most of the energy for his battery comes from fossil fuels; CA is 53% Natural Gas powered, and the Rocky mountain and Southwest states that supply your gas burn coal in its place. Yay you.

Re:La la land (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47682589)

Centralized energy generation (including coal) is arguably cleaner and more efficient, and it's modular... it can be replaced by solar, wind, natural gas, or fusion in the long run.

Actually zero emissions makes sense in L.A. (3, Interesting)

dbIII (701233) | about a month and a half ago | (#47683797)

Actually zero emissions makes sense for many vehicles in Los Angeles, Santiago and other places where the air can be trapped for weeks filling the place up with smog. If you can get the pollution shifted to the top of a smokestack on the other side of a mountain range you win. Of course the sensible thing would be a lot of trains, trams or some other way to move a lot of people about instead of getting the consumers to put up a big capital cost for personal electric vehicles, but that would cut into the cocaine budget or whatever it is that they have Californian legislators on.

turn it up to 10 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47680931)

"Almost 10 years ago" ... stoops .. bill was approved and filed late Sept 2006 ... should start with "Almost 8 years ago"

So in other words... (1)

Loopy (41728) | about a month and a half ago | (#47680935)

...if everyone in the process is at least partially corrupt, undiligent, or just plain out to lunch, and there's no hard accountability designed into the system, no measurement criteria, and no way to balance out abuses on both sides, then the whole things becomes just another talking point that someone can use in an election campaign?

What's new here? :P

False Savings (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47680939)

Common people and engineers know you need real concrete steps and that it will follow almost thru every sector of the economy from home, to work, to government.

There is no single 'Western Electricity Grid' solution to the issues.

In the end, probably the only thing that will make huge differences is the reduced amount of Kw/Hrs of electricity used. Given the rise of electric cars, that seems speculative at best.

More efficient homes and businesses in countless ways seems to be the only way to reduce emissions.

Re:False Savings (1)

Firethorn (177587) | about a month and a half ago | (#47681655)

In the end, probably the only thing that will make huge differences is the reduced amount of Kw/Hrs of electricity used. Given the rise of electric cars, that seems speculative at best.

I once figured out that if you went with the averages for everything in the USA - miles driven, kwh per 100 miles, household electricity usage, number of vehicles per household, and everything else that if we went to 100% electric vehicle usage(getting a Tesla's mileage), each household would use 50% more electricity.

With the rampant spread of Solar in Hawaii and starting elsewhere I wouldn't be surprised if we saw an inversion in power rates where electricity at night becomes more expensive than during the day. Employment that allows you to charge your EV at work might be a big selling factor.

Re:False Savings (1)

budgenator (254554) | about a month and a half ago | (#47682921)

Hawaii is pretty unique situation, there even if you forget to turn on the "solar water" the temp of you shower is tollerable. When I was there last, it seemed there was no weather reports on TV, I assumed it was because any time the weather was different enough to report it was a news item. Residential heating is unnecessary from what I could see the winter I was there and I doubt A/C would be used even in the summer. I know it snows on Mona Loa on "big Island" but at lower elevation it's always nice.

Re:False Savings (1)

Firethorn (177587) | about a month and a half ago | (#47683013)

Hawaii is pretty unique situation

Note that I mentioned that it's rampant in Hawaii, but only starting elsewhere. Hawaii is indeed pretty unique by combining high electricity costs via traditional means with near-ideal weather for solar systems.

Re:False Savings (1)

dbIII (701233) | about a month and a half ago | (#47686975)

I should remind readers that this point that "rampant" in this case is less than 20% of the daytime minimum power consumption in Hawaii. The above poster has a political barrow to push and this usage of "rampant" illustrates that reality is an unwanted impediment to be ignored if it dares to get in the way of that barrow.

False argument is starting up again (1)

dbIII (701233) | about a month and a half ago | (#47683807)

Ah - Hawaii solar boy! Didn't I debunk your silly example about how the horrible electricity consumers in Hawaii were cheating the electricity company out of their hard earned money by going solar? Oh woe - a former monopoly getting exposed to the cold winds of capitalism and losing money - how terrible.
Now you've got another bunch of numbers pulled from somewhere. Are you going to pull out another graph from before 1920 just like the last time and pretend your made up number is related to it or is does it actually have a relationship to reality this time? Either way, 100% electric is a pointless strawman that is never going to happen just like 100% solar.

Re: False Savings (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47681847)

Bull shit. We're better than that and already have viable technology to meet our power demands for the foreseeable future with only the slightest incidental carbon emission. It's called fission.

As a Californian... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47680985)

We try so hard to do the right thing, but are continually and perpetually at odds with lobbyists introducing corruption. I can't tell you how many good things have been made ultimately ineffective by the influence of lobbyists.

As a state we get accused of trying to do the impossible, but I can't stress that we really are trying, and we often get damn close. There's only so much you can do when your representatives are receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars from companies heavily invested in oil and coal.

As a sad Californian... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47681827)

I keep voting agaist all this left-wing fantasy crap and it keeps getting implemented anyway (Thanks to the bubbleheads in the mega-cities of LA and SF) and then out-of-state friends and relatives ask what's wrong with me and my fellow Californians. There are plenty of normal people here, BUT we ignored a bunch of this stuff early-on (when it was having only a small impact) as part of "keeping the peace" with the huge pool of loonies who desperately wanted it. Eventually, however, we became outnumbered by a tidal wave of always-vote-for-Santa-Clause voters after the population granted amnesty in 1986 hit voting age; the state is permanently "blue" and will probably be so until it completely collapses.

"WE" are NOT always trying "so hard to do the right thing" - our evil corrupt leftist leaders are always working to fool their idiot supporters into supporting them and their evil policies (every one of which is designed to SOUND good but actually enable more corruption). IN EVERY CASE the evidence is there ahead of time that these policies will not work, but the airheads are like flat-earthers - they prefer the nonsense spouted by their dear leaders over objective reality and the lessons of history. With every one of these new policies, they seem not to notice that their deal leaders get richer and more-powerful while they themselves get a little poorer (they often pretend that this is ok by telling themselves that they are "saving the planet" and that this carries a necessary cost).

We normal voters keep warning about this stuff and pointing out that it will not work, but the leftists insist that we are lying and that each new policy will be GREAT. Every single time this stuff backfires, we hear complaints that it was a good idea that almost worked or should have worked and yet they refuse to repeal any of it. Left-wingers clearly do not understand basic human nature; There ARE no "right ways" and no "right people" to implement such policies. Every single one of these political ideas is subject to political corruption PRECISELY because they are political and are run by politicians ALL of whom are human beings with human weaknesses.

Every single one of these crazy policies does even more harm to the middle class, but the masses who depend on handouts vote for it because it they don't think it hurts them and the people who give them freebies are the ones implementing these policies. California is no longer "The Golden State"; It was once the home of a huge portion of the nation's aircraft manufacturing (Lockheed,Douglas,Northrop,Convair, etc all manufactured large planes here), spacecraft and launch vehicle manufacturing (The Apollo CM and SM, Rocketdyne engines, Saturn V S-IVB stage, Atlas rocket, Space Shuttles, etc) was home to the entire semiconductor industry, the computer industry, major ship builders were located here (NASSCO os still in San Diego, but much of the rest is reduced or gone) and even a chunk of the auto industry was here. After decades of ratcheted-up insanity like this, manufacturers have fled the state taking millions of middle-class jobs with them and if you set-aside the illegal immigrant population and their kids the population of the state is falling. NONE of this stops the uber-rich in LA and SF from pushing even MORE lunacy and they can depend on getting their way thanks to the votes of the fully-dependent masses. This is how great things get destroyed.

Obligatory Note: I said NOTHING about skin color (there are illegals of all ethnicities in the state from all over the world) so any leftwinger who is tempted to use the usual tactic of calling me a "racist", be on notice - YOU are the one who immediately looks to skin color.

Re:As a Californian... (1)

khallow (566160) | about a month and a half ago | (#47681883)

As a state we get accused of trying to do the impossible, but I can't stress that we really are trying, and we often get damn close.

And when California finally finishes its act of economic suicide, it'll be a great warning to the rest of the world should they choose to heed it.

Legislate that pi is 4 (2, Insightful)

raymorris (2726007) | about a month and a half ago | (#47681071)

> legally binding climate policy in the United States, requiring that California's greenhouse gas emissions return to 1990 levels by the year 2020.

The passed a law declaring what the total greenhouse gas emissions will be? Is that like the Indiana bill declaring that pi is 4? If they can just pass a law and that'll make it so, why don't they pass a law that in 2020 California's unemployment rate will be as low as Texas, as opposed to more than 50% higher? Passing a law changes the facts, right?

Re:Legislate that pi is 4 (3, Interesting)

ljw1004 (764174) | about a month and a half ago | (#47682599)

If the value of pi was largely driven by human activities, and those human activities were within their jurisdiction, then yes it would be like Indiana.

Cap & Trade and Carbon Markets are Frauds (2, Insightful)

pubwvj (1045960) | about a month and a half ago | (#47681343)

Cap & Trade and Carbon Markets are Frauds. They merely shuffle around the money doing little to nothing to really reduce pollution. It's a scam to get rich by the players.

Re:Cap & Trade and Carbon Markets are Frauds (2)

Firethorn (177587) | about a month and a half ago | (#47681703)

I agree. It's far too political. Personally I've always favored a carbon tax as opposed to this 'cap and trade' stuff. Start at current and do a 'dutch auction' for carbon emissions. As such, those with the lowest economic gain from their emissions will exit the market first.

Allow some trading/credits for true sequestration initiatives, but I figure a tax would have the best effect. Implementation would still be complicated, especially in order to avoid the emissions from simply moving out of the area.

Re:Cap & Trade and Carbon Markets are Frauds (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47681997)

Would that be because carbon credits are backed by energy, or in particular energy units of consumption? Whereas paper money is in fact backed by nothing - its just debt. I guess only the big boys can buy them - company CEO's and the like - the "masterliness"

Re:Cap & Trade and Carbon Markets are Frauds (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47682233)

I was particularly amused to find that Carbon credits, like everything else, are manufactured in China:

As the United Nations became involved in efforts to curb climate change in the last 20 years, it relied on a scientific formula: Carbon dioxide, the most prevalent warming gas, released by smokestacks and vehicles, is given a value of 1. Other industrial gases are assigned values relative to that, based on their warming effect and how long they linger. Methane is valued at 21, nitrous oxide at 310. HFC-23, the waste gas produced making the world’s most common coolant — which is known as HCFC-22 — is near the top of the list, at 11,700.

"Profits on Carbon Credits Drive Output of a Harmful Gas." [nytimes.com]

Al Gore makes millions (2, Insightful)

Kernel Kurtz (182424) | about a month and a half ago | (#47682347)

selling "carbon credits". It's like the Pope selling indulgences.

He does a world class job of advertising too.

Of course anyone who could actually predict climate could be a multi-billionaire with ease.

Instead they apparently sell carbon credits.

Re:Al Gore makes millions (1)

oursland (1898514) | about a month and a half ago | (#47683335)

How do you propose managing a moral hazard and tragedy of the commons that fits within a capitalist market?

Joe Biden for 2016 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47693775)

Joe Biden is a square shooter. Joe Biden for 2016

Fee rather than market (3, Insightful)

UltraOne (79272) | about a month and a half ago | (#47681381)

The problem described in the OP is one of several reasons why setting a fee for each ton of carbon dioxide emission is a much better idea that a cap-and-trade scheme. There are numerous other reasons, but I will only highlight the most important.

The entire purpose of either a fee or cap-and-trade scheme is to get carbon consumers to change their behavior (either doing less of things that emit greenhouse gases or by reducing the carbon intensity of the same activities). But almost all the reasonable mitigation measures have long time horizons (years to decades). In cap-and-trade, it is very difficult to predict what the price signal will be at any time in the future. So how can I, as a consumer, decide if it is worth it to buy a more efficient or electric car if there is great uncertainty in how much the carbon control scheme is going to add to my gasoline cost?

Re:Fee rather than market (1)

JBMcB (73720) | about a month and a half ago | (#47682901)

Same goes with the back-asswards CAFE standards. Want more fuel efficient vehicles on the road? Tax gasoline. But no, an insanely complicated average fuel economy-per-vehicle-segment over general fleet sales is imposed. More politically expedient, MUCH less efficient.

"Carbon pollution" - LOL - fucking idiots (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47681903)

www.climatedepot.com

There is no such thing as catastrophic man-made global warming. Changing its name to 'climate change' (laughable in itself) doesn't change anything.
Repeating the word "Carbon" "Carbon" "Carbon" over and over again doesn't change anything either.

When is this bullshit going to stop?

AB32 - Easy for big polluters, tough for the green (1)

eepok (545733) | about a month and a half ago | (#47682197)

The big pain in the ass here is that AB32 trickles down to California businesses and state-run entities. Everyone has to do their part to reduce California emissions back to 1990s levels (NOT per capita... raw GHG tonnage per year). That's easy for some, but not so easy for others.

If your organization was a big time polluter with little employee growth since the 1990s, you can switch to plug-in hybrids for your fleet, swap out incandescent bulbs for fluorescent/LED, put in new thermostats, disallow hot water in the bathrooms, adopt roof-top solar, and, if necessary, buy bio-methane energy credits. Reaching your AB32 goals would be easy.

But what if you were one of the model organizations in the 1990s that was at the forefront green tech but have since doubled in size? Ya, you may still have a fantastic per capita GHG emissions rating, but you've doubled in size! That means you have to cut your per capita in HALF to get back to your 1990 emissions level. Organizations with this problem are actually going back through their numbers and hoping to INCREASE their back-casting GHG emissions. They want to be seen as having been bigger polluters than they were because, with AB32, if you weren't a big polluter, you're going to have to invest beyond the diminishing returns curve to get anywhere near your state-mandated goals.

If AB32 could be amended to require going back to 1990 PER CAPITA emissions, my organization would be sitting pretty. Hell, we'd be able to sell off the credits from our being BELOW our 1990 per capita emissions. But that's not the case... so we, as one of the lowest per capita polluters in the nation for our industry, will end up paying more in cap-and-trade fees and offsets than actual big polluters.

mission accomplished (1)

liquid_schwartz (530085) | about a month and a half ago | (#47682241)

California has chased away so much industry I don't see how they can miss.

Carbon Success (1)

LessThanObvious (3671949) | about a month and a half ago | (#47682389)

They will succeed in reducing California emissions. It's easy to do when you drive and real industry out. :)

The Carbon Market: Exporting Pollution .. (1)

lippydude (3635849) | about a month and a half ago | (#47682429)

"When California’s .. carbon market took effect in 2013 .. A few months later .. [Edison] sold its interest in the coal plant to an Arizona utility .. The coal plant will keep emitting pollution just as before—only now it serves customers in Arizona, not California." ref [sagepub.com]

Higher prices (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47683053)

In the end its just another government tax to increase prices so people can feel good they are fixing an imaginary problem.

The "carbon market" is nothing ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47683297)

... but a legalized pyramid scheme that does absolutely NOTHING to control carbon emissions and actually legalizes (by payment) the violation of environmental laws.

24 years... how fast can we change society? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47683465)

Notice that fthe big idea is to get California back to 1990 levels of CO2 emission with a target date of 2020. Twenty four years are past, and there are only six years left, In other words, 80% of the budgeted time is gone.

The process of deducing that the CAP and Trade system has leakages... is triggering evasive offshore manufacturing... all of these facts take three reporting periods from the reporting organizations. Lets assume companies like PG&E electric file quarterly CO2 emissions equivalent tonnage reports. That means the scientists writing this report had to wait at least 9 months or three reporting intervals to begin to spot patterns in the reports. It means years are passing with the hoped for ground truth not changing fast enough.

I have a CO2 meter sitting on the desk reading 593 PPM CO2... it just dropped to 590.... The rate at which information reaches the regulatory system is the cybernetic limiting factor for the Cap and Trade system to actually drive real physical change. Cap and Trade has a fundamental limit as a social system. I am going to throw in a social story here: The wolld is like a whole bunch of people on the Titanic and the captain has three day old weather reports mentioning icebergs. The problem for us is: how fast can you slow down the boat and turn it south-east?

It turns out the California Air Resources Board does not routinely measure and report CO2 concentrations in California air. I think they should start doing that right away. As a society we need to do more work using near real time data. While the CO2 meter I have is rated +/- 52 ppm, the sensor updates every 12 seconds.

Yesterday I searched the PG&E website (northern California utilty company) looking for their rate of CO2 generation per kilowatt hour of electricity sold. I needed that number to decide if an electric car is less polluting than my old van. That number is nowhere to be found on the electric company website. Does the company omit revealing the number because there is a carbon gap between their share of the cap and the amount of CO2 equivalent tons they emit?

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