Tom Steyer Vows to Fight for Cap-and-Trade Funds
Oil companies have been pressuring skittish Democrats to remove fuels from the cap-and-trade system, even though doing so would significantly reduce the revenues that system brings in. But help is on the way, pledges Tom Steyer:
Billionaire environmental activist Tom Steyer, who has pledged to spend $100 million in the midterm elections to push his climate change agenda across the nation, announced Tuesday that he would fight efforts to delay a key element of California’s landmark environmental law.
Steyer said he would “spend what it takes to win” but declined to say how much money he or his Super PAC would devote to thwarting efforts to delay the Jan. 1 start of a new phase of the law: including motor vehicle fuels in the state’s system for buying and selling rights to emit greenhouse gases….
Steyer plans a three-pronged approach against such a move: organizing those most affected by pollution, countering the oil industry’s public-relations efforts and monitoring price fluctuations at the pump.
This is good news, as it means there will be some real resources offered to counter a desperate move by a dying industry to avoid having to pay up to deal with a climate crisis they have caused. It’s unlikely that the cap-and-trade system will lead to significant gas price increases, but even if they did, the revenues will be spent largely on projects that give people alternatives to driving.
Democrats need to not be so scared of the oil companies. Gas prices rise and fall by wide margins every year with the seasons. Most drivers won’t notice the shift, though I would not be surprised if the oil companies artificially jacked up prices to try and prove that cap-and-trade is causing a rise at the pump.
California has been leading the nation in action to reduce CO2 emissions. The cap-and-trade funds are, of course, essential to building high speed rail, among other projects. Giving the oil companies some temporary relief would only prolong Californians’ agony, delaying the construction of needed alternatives to driving and making it that much harder to meet the AB 32 carbon reduction goals.
Kudos to Tom Steyer for stepping up to fight. More Californians should stand with him against the oil companies on this.