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The Trump administration sues California for restriction and trade agreement with Canada



The Trump administration seeks Wednesday into one of California's most important climate change policies by suing the state to enter into a cap-and-trade agreement with the Canadian province of Quebec to reduce fossil fuel emissions.

The lawsuit filed by the Department of Justice states that California has exceeded its legal powers by signing an agreement with another state designed to limit air pollution and climate-warming greenhouse gases. Only the federal government has this power according to the claim. Also named as defendants are the state's best air quality regulator and the Western Climate Initiative, a nonprofit California group created with neighboring states to promote such policies.

"The state of California has established itself beyond its proper constitutional bar to enter into an international emissions agreement," Assistant Atty said. In a statement, Gen. Jeffrey Bossert Clark of the Justice Department's Justice Department. "California's illegal restriction and trade agreement with Quebec undermines the president's ability to negotiate competitive agreements with other states as the president deems necessary," Clark added.

California Governor Gavin Newsham released a statement criticizing the lawsuit as another episode. in what he called Trump's continuing administration "a political vendetta against California."

"For years, our country has been proudly involved in a number of environmental partnerships that address the adverse effects of climate change on our health and economy," the governor stated, "This latest attack shows that the White House has its head in the sand when it is about climate change and serves no purpose other than to continue political retribution. "

The Trump administration is steadily escalating its attacks against California's ability to disrupt. air and water pollution. In September, it repealed a decade-long rule that allowed California to set stricter emissions standards for cars than those required by the federal government, forcing the state to respond. Then, for about a week, Trump's Environmental Protection Agency sent letters threatening to cut federal highway funding to California for alleged violations of the Clean Air Act and accusing the state of failing to protect its water.

In addition, the Department of Justice launched an antitrust investigation into whether four automakers violated federal competition law by reaching a voluntary emission agreement with California.

The California Restriction and Trade Program has been in place since 201

3 and is considered necessary if the state is to meet its carbon reduction targets.

The program works by setting an annual limit or limit for almost all greenhouse gas emissions in the state. California oil refineries, cement plants, and other industries can meet this requirement either by reducing their emissions or by purchasing government auction permits that allow them to pollute. These permits can then be purchased and sold within the open market, the "commercial" part of the program.

The theory underlying the program is that by reducing the emission limit, companies will find it more economical to decarbonise rather than continue to pay for pollution permits.

Quebec has been involved in the program since the beginning of in the beginning expanding the size of the emissions trading market. California companies can trade carbon emissions with companies in Quebec.

David Wright, an associate professor at the Calgary Law School who has studied California's agreement with Quebec, said that while there is some case law that supports Trump's administration's legal argument, "the case is extremely far from stained tissue."

"I would assume that this lawsuit would not be successful as the restriction and trade regime is carefully structured so as not to have key features of formal international agreements," he said. court The process is problematic because it will affect market confidence in this emission trading regime. "

Wright added that the administration's lawsuit could ultimately have the opposite effect. If the courts support the California-Quebec agreement, this may encourage other countries to join.

Other legal experts have said Trump may have weakened his administration's own case by announcing plans to withdraw from the landmark Paris climate agreement , according to which nearly 200 countries have agreed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

"It is ironic that the US argues that California interferes with the ability of the US to pursue a foreign policy on greenhouse gas emissions when there is no foreign policy on greenhouse gas. gas emissions, "says Anne Carlson, a professor of environmental law at UCLA.

The California Restriction and Trade Program has raised billions of dollars since its launch through the auction of pollution permits. But so far, the program is not a major driver of greenhouse gas reduction – most are achieved through other, more traditional regulations, including those for fuels, vehicles and electricity generation.

This has caused some state legislators and other critics to question the rigor of the program and whether oversupply of quotas will impede its effectiveness.

Nonetheless, California regulators say the program's role should increase dramatically in the coming years if the state meets its ambitious goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 40% below 1990 levels by 2030. of the State Air Resources Council calls for restraint and trade to become the single largest emission reduction engine by 2030, responsible for more than one-third of emissions reductions. [19659002] The country's plan to achieve the 2030 climate target depends not only on a stricter program to limit and trade the ever-reducing emission limit, but also calls for maintaining the program's relationship with Quebec, as well as " future relationships with other jurisdictions, thereby facilitating international action to tackle climate change. "

Although California officials hope the program will spread to other states, this is not the case. An attempt in Oregon to enact trade restriction legislation fell apart in the summer after Republican senators fled the state to avoid the ballot and Democrats lost support for the bill as part of their own debate. [19659023] window.fbAsyncInit = function () {
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