The United States Justice Department has filed suit against the State of California. The state entered into a cap and trade agreement with Quebec, a partnership the Department of Justice (DOJ) calls “unlawful” because it allegedly interferes with foreign policy. The cap and trade agreement with Quebec is a move by the state to reduce its carbon pollution.
“Cap and trade” is a market for companies (or governments) to trade the right to create emissions. California is participating in the Western Climate Initiative, the cap and trade agreement with Quebec that acts as a unified carbon market. In this initiative, companies buy permits to emit carbon. The “market” gets smaller each year, which encourages companies to pollute less.
Calling it a violation of foreign policy, the DOJ said of the agreement in the press release, “Allowing individual states in the Union to conduct their own foreign policy to advance their own narrow interests is thus anathema to our system of government and, if tolerated, would unlawfully enhance state power at the expense of the United States and undermine the United States’ ability to negotiate competitive international agreements.”
California Governor Gavin Newsom spoke out against the suit in a statement, say the lawsuit was a “political vendetta against California, our climate policies and the health of our communities. Carbon pollution knows no borders, and the Trump administration’s abysmal record of denying climate change and propping up big polluters makes cross-border collaboration all the more necessary….This latest attack shows that the White House has its head in the sand when it comes to climate change and serves no purpose other than continued political retribution.”
The Trump Administration and California have been at odds over multiple climate initiatives, including vehicle emissions standards. In spite of federal haranguing, California has made significant strides to reduce its impact on the climate. The state has multiple plastic and straw bans, and Governor Newsom recently signed legislation to ban travel-size plastic bottles from hotels.
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