It’s Time to Terminate California’s Cap and Trade System

Nicolas Loris /

California legislators passed a statewide cap and trade bill in 2006 that is set to begin in 2012, but a growing opposition is seeking to include a ballot measure that would postpone a carbon cap until the state’s economy recovers:

“The ballot measure would bar the state from implementing the law until its jobless rate stabilized at or below 5.5% for a year, which supporters say would signal the return of a strong economy. The state’s jobless rate topped 5.5% in October 2007 and now stands at 12.5%.

Supporters and opponents of the law disagree about its potential economic effects. The California Air Resources Board, the state clean-air agency administering the law, says the cap would help the economy. It would raise the price of a unit of energy, but reduce Californians’ total energy bills through greater efficiency, the board says, freeing up money that would lead to more jobs.

But the board has scaled back its optimism. In a 2008 study, it projected the measure would produce a net gain of more than 100,000 California jobs. Economists widely criticized that study as too rosy. A second economic assessment, released by the board in March, projects a net gain of about 10,000 jobs. A June 2009 study by a group of California small businesses, however, predicted the law could raise the average California household’s annual housing, transportation, energy and food costs by about $3,900, or 15%.”