Free and open to all.
Danny Cullenward, Research Associate, Carnegie Institution for Science; Lecturer, Stanford School of Earth, Energy, and Environmental Sciences
Michael Wara, Associate Professor of Law; Justin M. Roach Jr. Faculty Scholar
In 2016, as California began its second decade of comprehensive climate mitigation policy, state leaders enacted one of the world’s most ambitious greenhouse gas reduction targets—aiming to cut emissions 40% between 2020 and 2030. Achieving this goal will be a tremendous challenge. The speakers will review progress made toward a more modest target for 2020, evaluating the contribution of California’s complex web of energy and climate policies in the wake of the Great Recession. In particular, they will focus on the state’s flagship policy, a comprehensive cap-and-trade program that has suffered from persistent weak demand and low carbon prices. As the Air Resources Board develops plans to reach the state’s ambitious 2030 target, the role of carbon pricing policy remains uncertain and, we have argued, requires legislative re-authorization. Meanwhile, the Air Resources Board emphasizes the role of non-price policies in its planning process, but the viability of key regulations is now in question as the Trump Administration considers revoking or modifying several of the legal authorities California has relied on to achieve emission reductions. Reflecting on these challenges, the talk will outline strategies for making progress on effective climate mitigation policy in California and identify lessons for other jurisdictions to consider on the road to deep decarbonization.
- Danny Cullenward & Michael Wara, Pricing carbon: California's unfinished climate priority. Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (Jan. 10, 2017).
- Michael Wara, California's energy and climate policy: A full plate, but perhaps not a model. Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists 70(5): 26-34 (2014).
- Legislative Analyst's Office, The 2017-18 Budget: Cap-and-Trade (Feb. 13, 2017).
- Andy Coghlan & Danny Cullenward, State Constitutional Limitations on the Future of California's Carbon Market. Energy Law Journal 37(2): 219-63 (2016).
- Severin Borenstein, James Bushnell, Frank A. Wolak, & Matthew Zaragoza-Watkins, Expecting the Unexpected: Emissions Uncertainty and Environmental Market Design. Energy Institute @ Haas Working Paper # 274 (2016).
- Danny Cullenward & Andy Coghlan, Structural oversupply and credibility in California's carbon market. Electricity Journal 29(5): 7-14 (2016).