Federal Court Upholds California’s Right to Work with Quebec on Climate Change
A federal court has ruled that California’s coordination with the Canadian province of Quebec to reduce greenhouse gas emission does not violate the U.S. Constitution, shooting down the last surviving element of a challenge by the Trump administration.
In 2006, California’s Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a market-based cap-and-trade program to reduce greenhouse gases, which went into effect in 2012. It was extended for another decade in 2017.
The law set limits, which decrease over time, on California companies’ emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.
Companies that do not meet their emissions “cap” must “trade” by buying credits at an auction, with the proceeds used to fund emissions-control programs and help vulnerable communities.
In 2011, Quebec established its own cap-and-trade program, with stricter limits. Under the agreement approved in 2013 by then-Gov. Jerry Brown, California and the Canadian province have conducted joint auctions for pollution credits, yielding $12 billion to date in revenue for California.
The Obama administration did not object to the agreement, but the Trump administration sued, saying the first-of-its-kind agreement amounted to a treaty or international compact in violation of the federal government’s exclusive constitutional authority.
Fourteen states ultimately joined the litigation on California’s side.
In March, U.S. District Judge William Shubb held that the agreement did not expand California’s regulatory power, and that the state was free to pull out from or modify its terms at any time.
However, Shubb deferred consideration of the administration’s claim the agreement violated the Foreign Affairs Doctrine until last week. The Doctrine vests Congress and the president with the power to conduct particular foreign affairs activities.
According to the administration, California’s agreement with Quebec, “directly conflicts with President Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Accord.” Further, it claims the contested agreements “undermine the federal government’s ability to develop a new international mitigation arrangement.”
On Friday, Shubb rejected those assertions, saying the administration hadn’t come close to making its case.
“The United States offers no concrete evidence that California’s cap-and-trade program has interfered with either negotiations for a better deal or the nation’s imminent withdrawal from the Paris Accord,” Shubb wrote.
In response to the ruling Erica Morehouse, a senior attorney at the Environmental Defense Fund, said, “California faces the clear and present danger of climate change and is innovating and leading with solutions that protect lives, create jobs and strengthen the economy.
“We need states to take on this role as laboratories of experimentation today more than ever, especially when the federal government fails to provide sound leadership,” Morehouse said.
In The News
Several federal agencies representing the core of the executive branch’s national security and foreign policy apparatus, are releasing a suite... Read More
Several federal agencies representing the core of the executive branch’s national security and foreign policy apparatus, are releasing a suite of reports on the impact of climate change at home and abroad, and particularly on how to deal with the refugees a changing world climate is... Read More
LONDON (AP) — The world needs to cut by more than half its production of coal, oil and gas in... Read More
LONDON (AP) — The world needs to cut by more than half its production of coal, oil and gas in the coming decade to maintain a chance of keeping global warming from reaching dangerous levels, according to a U.N.-backed study released Wednesday. The report published by... Read More
WASHINGTON -- The foundations of what could prove to be the next great innovations in climate change prevention technology were... Read More
WASHINGTON -- The foundations of what could prove to be the next great innovations in climate change prevention technology were laid out and dissected during a Brookings Institution webinar this week. Sanjay Patnaik, director of Brookings Center on Regulation and Markets, hosted a virtual discussion on... Read More
WASHINGTON -- National Weather Service officials tried to convince a congressional panel Thursday that now is the time to prepare... Read More
WASHINGTON -- National Weather Service officials tried to convince a congressional panel Thursday that now is the time to prepare for escalating travails of global warming. Staffing and technology needs will only grow, meaning any successes in weather forecasting in recent years could be short-lived, they... Read More
WASHINGTON -- More than 20 federal agencies released their plans Thursday to adapt to climate change in response to an... Read More
WASHINGTON -- More than 20 federal agencies released their plans Thursday to adapt to climate change in response to an order from President Joe Biden. The plans explain how they will maintain the continuity of government service despite rising temperatures that will strain their personnel, buildings... Read More
DETROIT - General Motors and GE Renewable Energy, a subsidiary of the General Electric Co., have signed an agreement to... Read More
DETROIT - General Motors and GE Renewable Energy, a subsidiary of the General Electric Co., have signed an agreement to develop supply chains supporting the manufacturing of electric vehicles and renewable energy equipment. What both companies are calling a “non-binding memorandum of understanding” in a statement... Read More