When cap-and-trade laws were first proposed for California, many pro-business politicians loudly objected. The fee system would hamper economic growth and eat away at bottom lines, they argued. For the environmentalists pushing the legislation, however, that was all beside the point. The Earth needed saving, period.
Voters went along with the idea, encouraged by officials’ endless promises of how green energy and clean energy were the future – and a highly lucrative one at that.
Well, the jury is still out on how profitable carbon-free products can be. And if Californians insist on putting substantial brakes on their productivity, only a long, sustained conversation can convince them otherwise.
But there’s another reason to take a freshly skeptical look at the cap-and-trade regime. Rather than a victory for the partisans behind it, or a big page Californians can turn in their state’s history, it’s a political campaign that never ends.
In January, for instance, the cap-and-trade system will rope in gasoline and other fuels. That means higher fees for producers, and that means higher costs for consumers.