2016FallSymposiumURCreativityEngagement has ended
Tuesday, December 6 • 10:15am - 10:35am
The Golden State’s Moment: A Critical Examination of California’s Cap-and-Trade Design, Implementation, and Lessons

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The purpose of this research paper is to evaluate the efficacy of and propose reforms to California’s cap-and-trade policy for carbon emissions. This carbon pricing scheme is a landmark economic policy in the fight against anthropogenic climate change. We look at policy design options implemented over the history of cap-and-trade policy at the state, regional, federal, and international levels, and derive best practices. We then evaluate California’s cap-and-trade policy based upon these lessons, detailing by which metrics the policy design is sound, and by which metrics it could be improved to ensure economic efficiency and political feasibility. We find that California’s cap-and-trade system successfully limits transaction costs and allows banking, but is hindered by low certainty, a too-low emissions cap, and uncertain use of revenue, resulting in political instability. To the extent that California remedies this issues, the state’s cap-and-trade program figures to prove economically and politically viable to a greater extent, which will increase the likelihood of carbon pricing implementation in the United States and abroad.


Tuesday December 6, 2016 10:15am - 10:35am
035 Karpen Hall