Most advocates for action to address climate change cheered California’s Cap and Trade Program for greenhouse gases, but several advocacy groups raised concerns regarding the proposed program.
In May 2011 the Association of Irritated Residents (AIR), a California-based group of environmental justice advocates, succeeded in obtaining an injunction in California Superior Court that prevented the California Air Resources Board (CARB) from conducting any further work on its cap-and-trade program until it completed an adequate analysis of alternatives to the proposed program as required by California’s Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). AIR was concerned that using cap-and-trade mechanisms to control GHGs would be likely to result in continued or increased disparate emissions of harmful conventional pollutants in low-income or minority communities.
After its initial success, AIR suffered a series of legal setbacks on appeal that have now culminated in the Superior Court’s ruling that CARB has complied with its mandate to provide a more thorough review of the alternatives to its Cap and Trade program.
Combined with the fact that CARB’s latest Cap and Trade rules package was approved by California’s Office of Administrative Law on December 13, 2011, the emissions trading program is now set to launch January 2012 with the first allocation auctions set for August 2012.