Letters to the Editor

Speculators would make cap-and-trade carbon plan volatile

In addition to leaving Gov. Jerry Brown’s high-speed rail project flat, AB 32’s underperforming cap-and-trade system is now being blamed for failing to fund his laudable 10-year goal of 1.5 million electric vehicles (Perspective, “Lofty clean-car goals face cloudy future,” June 27).

The Achilles’ heel of cap-and-trade systems seems to be the presence of Wall Street in the emissions credit markets. The hopes and fears of speculators introduce volatility into a system that is expected to deliver steady funding to 10- and 20-year clean-energy projects.

To really solve climate change, we need a national pricing system, but this level of volatility would create havoc with the national economy. For a comprehensive solution that creates the right incentives to make a difference, we need a simple, transparent revenue-neutral price on fossil fuels that returns all the proceeds back to the public.

A fee-and-dividend system, where the monthly consumer rebates rise in steady increments along with the carbon price, would do away with the need for emissions exchanges, speculators, subsidies and Environmental Protection Agency regulatory targets. Consumers would be in the driver’s seat and free to choose what to do with their carbon rebates: Buy an electric car, or keep driving their favorite SUVs.

Michael Segor, San Luis Obispo