California is swimming in $1.5 billion in new money for clean energy programs and the high-speed rail project, after lawmakers extended the climate-change program, cap-and-trade. But analysts suggest the current boom could ultimately undermine the program’s purpose of cutting long-term emissions.
Sales of cap-and-trade credits—which businesses must obtain in order to legally emit greenhouse gases—have soared in the second half of 2017, after a year of uneven returns.
Since July, when lawmakers voted to renew the cap-and-trade program through 2030, the state has sold every available credit at its quarterly auctions, even as emissions are lower than regulators expected. In other words, companies are buying more credits than they need.
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