California's landmark carbon emission credit trading program won a round in state court late last week, as Judge Ernest Goldsmith tossed out a suit against the California Air Resources Board (CARB) that would have sent the cap and trade program back to the drawing board. The lawsuit, filed in March 2012 by two environmental groups, charged that the emissions trading program would have given credit to corporations for making cuts in emissions that were already required by law.
The plaintiffs, Citizens Climate Lobby and Our Children's Earth Foundation, also claimed that CARB's plan to allow corporations to use carbon emission offset credits to comply with the emissions reduction provisions of California's climate law AB 32 constituted a loophole firms could use to avoid making real reductions in greenhouse gas pollution.
Under AB 32, also known as the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, California's largest emitters of greenhouse gases must buy "allowances" to emit carbon dioxide and other substances with the power to affect the planet's climate. Auctions of such allowances will be held four times a year; most of the allowances are being given free to polluters at first, but those gratis credits will decrease as the years pass.