Enviros Label California’s Cap-And-Trade Plan As ‘Institutional Racism’


By Michael Bastasch

Some environmentalists have labeled California’s new law extending its cap-and-trade system as “institutional racism” that will end up killing thousands of “people of color.”

Activists with Friends of the Earth did not support Gov. Jerry Brown’s signing of legislation to extend the state’s cap-and-trade system until 2030. Major environmental groups supported the bill, but Friends of the Earth (FOE) said it didn’t go far enough.

“The cap-and-trade bill, which the California legislature passed Monday night, blocks the ability of local air quality agencies from establishing rules limiting greenhouse gases,” FOE vice president Michelle Chan wrote Tuesday evening.

“The bill also includes a host of other concessions to polluters, including giving away tens of billions of dollars worth of free carbon emissions allowances,” Chan wrote, “and allowing polluters to buy carbon offsets instead of actually reducing emissions.”

FOE tweeted their frustration Wednesday morning. Brown signed the legislation Tuesday over objections from Republicans and even some Democrats that it would raise electricity prices.

The cap-and-trade system began operating in 2012. Large industrial facilities are required to buy state permits in order to emit carbon dioxide. For years, Democrats favored this method as a way to fight global warming.

California’s cap-and-trade system survived recent legal challenges and gained a surge of renewed support from Democrats after President Donald Trump announced he would withdraw from the Paris climate accord.

FOE, however, wanted California to allow local air regulators to impose harsher standards on oil refineries, which the cap-and-trade bill didn’t do. The environmental group claims the failure to do this will end up killing thousands of minorities.

“The 3,000 people that analysis showed would die prematurely if the refinery cap was not put in place,” Chan wrote. “This is institutional racism.”

So, will thousands of people die because of the refinery carve out in California’s cap-and-trade program? It’s not likely.

On the other hand, Californians’ electricity and gas bills will likely increase because of cap-and-trade. Businesses spent $1 billion on emissions permits in 2015.

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