Will California’s cap-and-trade experiment catch on?

Will California’s cap-and-trade experiment catch on?

Posted on

Fri, 10/28/2011 - 12:37pm

Matt Kahn, Luskin Center Scholar and Professor in the UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, Department of Economics, and Department of Public Policy, is quoted in a Washington Post piece about California's adoption of a cap-and-trade program. An excerpt is included below.

As the old Louis Brandeis quip goes, states can serve as laboratories of democracy if they so choose. And California has just volunteered itself as a guinea pig for a particularly high-stakes experiment. The California Air Resources Board is putting the finishing touches on a statewide cap-and-trade system for greenhouse-gas emissions. You can bone up on the details in the Los Angeles Times. But here’s a broader question: Will California’s adventure have any effect on climate policy in the rest of the country?

But what about Congress? UCLA’s Matthew Kahn has done a study finding that House members who voted for the 2009 Waxman-Markey climate bill were more likely to come from liberal, wealthier, low-carbon districts. It’s hard to see how even a California success with cap-and-trade could alter this dynamic and win over lawmakers in coal-heavy states like Indiana or West Virginia. But Kahn remains optimistic, arguing that California’s experiment could help foster new clean-energy companies and interest groups who will act as a counterweight to fossil-fuel interests in the broader political debate. New lobbyists to fight the old lobbyists. It’s a little seedy, sure, but as theories of political change go, it’s not totally unrealistic.

To read the full article by Brad Plumer click here.

Matt Kahn, Luskin Center Scholar and Professor in the UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, Department of Economics, and Department of Public Policy, is quoted in a Washington Post piece about California's adoption of a cap-and-trade program. An excerpt is included below.