California Climate Legislation and Offsets

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“>additionality, inclusion of co-benefit and public participation criteria, and the exclusion of hydropower projects as a project type.

Given the recession, it is likely that offsets aren’t even necessary to meet the target. The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) predicts that 2009 emissions will be almost 9% lower than in 2005 in the US. California’s 2020 target, a return to 1990 levels, translates to 10% below 2005 pollution levels in California.  Not only could California do away with offsets, but it could significantly increase the ambition level of the cap.

California is a trailblazer, often enacting legislation that paves the way for federal legislation (read this excellent analysis about climate legislation and California by Hunter Cutting and Gary Cook).  If California adopts stringent limits and quality criteria for offsets, it will set a high standard for a federal bill in the future.  California also has the opportunity to show that a climate bill can actually stimulate the shift to a cleaner, greener economy.