Sean Penrith, The Climate Trust
Weekly Policy and Finance Update – March 5, 2018
|Oregon has real-world data at its fingertips. Cap and invest programs deliver. And yet, a dozen years since my arrival, we are still not ready. That is extreme, and Oregon is missing out.|
I have been living in Oregon since 2005. Almost every year, there has been a push to have our legislative leaders price carbon. Senator Dembrow and Representative Helm spent considerable time in 2017 convening multiple stakeholder meetings and digesting reams of submitted expert testimony from all camps. They contended that the Clean Energy Jobs bill, that would pave the way for a cap and invest bill in the state offering three years of rulemaking for adjustments, was as ready as it was ever going to be. Having participated in those meetings, I would agree with their sentiment.
With the close of the 2018 short session this past Saturday, the Clean Energy Bill was shelved until 2019. While our planet is burning, opponents to the bill contested that there was no way such an important piece of legislation could be dealt with in a short session. House Republican leader, Mike McLane, said that it was an “extreme bill that required an enormous amount of time” and was “clearly not ready.”
We are losing out. Every passing year, we have not been ready; meanwhile the cost of curtailing carbon emissions rises. When Oregon does join in, it will be at a higher cost to us. Other jurisdictions have not waited. The most recent tripartite auction held for California, Ontario, and Quebec raised $725M, $377M, and $155M, respectively, by auctioning off carbon allowances at $14.61 per ton under the Western Climate Initiative mechanism. These record-high results reflect the benefits of linked cap and trade programs. Liquidity is increased, compliance costs are managed efficiently, and emissions are curbed.
Maine just passed a bill to remain part of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) through 2030. RGGI is a cap and invest mechanism for nine states in the Northeast. During 2012 and 2017, $54M in auction allowance revenues leveraged $88M in additional private investments to deliver $277M in energy savings for Maine residents and businesses. The RGGI program is on pace to boast a total of $7B by 2030 that will be invested in energy efficiency and renewable energy and save 132 million tons of carbon emissions from polluting our atmosphere. RGGI states have benefitted from a savings of $5.7B in health benefits. New Jersey and Virginia have been contemplating joining RGGI and if that were to happen, an additional $4.2B would be generated by 2030.
Oregon has real-world data at its fingertips. Cap and invest programs deliver. And yet, a dozen years since my arrival, and we are still not ready. That is extreme, and Oregon is missing out.
|Oregon cap-and-trade backers eye 2019 after failed short-session bid
Pete Danko, Portland Business Journal, March 3, 2018
Ontario Joins California and Quebec for Largest Carbon Auction Yet: All Current Allowances Sell
Law keeping Maine as part of RGGI becomes law without governor’s signature
Coalition Supports Offsets in Oregon’s Proposed Cap and Invest Program
Kasey Krifka, February 14, 2018
Solving State Budget Challenges with Cap and Invest
Sheldon Zakreski, February 5, 2018
Oregon Cap and Trade Could Make Industry More Competitive Sheldon Zakreski, Feb 26, 2018
In-State Offsets Preference for Oregon Could Raise Issues of Legality Peter Weisberg, Feb 20, 2018
Harnessing the Power of the Private Sector with Opportunity Zones Sean Penrith, Feb 12, 2018
Image credit: Flickr/Mark Jensen