Decisions, Decisions. What's the best way to add transportation fuels to California's cap-and-trade program? Charge a carbon tax at the pump, as Senate leader Steinberg proposes, or charge refineries in the same manner as applied to other industries?
"California’s cap-and-trade system currently affects only industrial plants – but next year, it’s set to expand to vehicle fuels too. Now, Senate Leader Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) says he wants to exempt those fuels from cap-and-trade – and implement a carbon tax instead," writes Ben Adler. [Also on audio].
In essence, the decision is whether to charge consumers at the pump or have refineries participate in a carbon auction, and pass on the added costs to consumers. "Steinberg hopes that a straightforward carbon tax would be better received by consumers than the complicated cap-and-trade pricing mechanism," writes Marc Lifsher in the Los Angeles Times.
The proposal doesn't seem to be going over well - with some fellow Democrats and environmentalists.
- "Cap and trade is the preferred approach," said Derek Walker of the Environmental Defense Fund in San Francisco, wrote Lifsher.
- Sen. Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills), who wrote California’s landmark greenhouse gas reduction law, says a carbon tax would conflict with AB 32’s overall goal of reducing climate change “… because it sends mixed signals to the major emitters – where some now are under a cap required to roll back, other people get a free pass, the motorists pay,” writes Adler.
Another way the carbon tax would deviate from cap-and-trade would be how it distributes the revenue. Rather than combining auction revenues from refineries with other Cap-and-Trade Auction Proceeds, it would "(r)eturn two-thirds of the Carbon Tax revenues to poor and middle-income Californians through a state Earned Income Tax Credit for families making less than $75,000 per year," wrote Steinberg in his press release.
Interestingly, the oil industry that has fought gasoline and oil royalty taxes in the past, is neutral, writes Adler, "but business groups don’t like the proposal. They argue companies and consumers would pay more at the pump."
In fact, Steinberg acknowledges gas prices will go up regardless – under cap-and-trade or a carbon tax. “And it may not be popular to say, but that’s necessary. Higher prices discourage demand.”
Indiana Once Again Considering Ban on Dedicated Transit Lanes
The proposed legislation would impact the construction of planned IndyGo Blue Line, the third phase of the city’s bus rapid transit system.
4 Ways to Use AI in Urban Planning and City Design
With the ability to predict trends, engage citizens, enhance resource allocation, and guide decision-making, artificial intelligence has the potential to serve as planners’ very own multi-tool.
LA’s ‘Spongy’ Infrastructure Captured Almost 9 Billion Gallons of Water
The city is turning away from stormwater management practices that shuttle water to the ocean, building infrastructure that collects and directs it underground instead.
An Affordable Housing Model for Indigenous Americans
Indigenous people make up a disproportionately high percentage of the unhoused population, but many programs designed to assist them don’t reach those most in need.
Oregon Bill Would Ban E-Bikes for Riders Under 16
State lawmakers seek to change Oregon e-bike laws following the death of a 15-year old last summer.
Northeastern Waterways More Polluted After Wet Year
Intense rains washed more runoff into local bodies of water, while warmer temperatures contributed to the growth of an invasive bloom.
Tufts University Department of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning
City of Grand Forks, North Dakota
HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research
City of Birmingham, Alabama
City of Laramie, Wyoming
Colorado Department of Local Affairs
This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.