Drilling down on cap-and-trade

Jul 13, 2017

The proposal to continue California's cap-and-trade program after 2020 contains an array of fiscal incentives aimed at getting rival interests to sign off.


JIM MILLER in the Sacramento Bee: "Legislation to extend California’s nationally watched cap-and-trade program, which could come up for a vote as early as Monday, contains key fiscal sweeteners meant to win its passage: extending the sales and use tax exemption for manufacturers and research and development companies, and expanding it to cover purchases by biomass and other renewable energy generators as well as agricultural businesses. It also suspends the fire prevention charge."

"Backers of the tax breaks say the cuts would help lower consumers’ electric bills and help achieve the state’s pollution-control goals by encouraging more spending on renewable energy."


"But the perks would be expensive. The new tax cuts for power companies would total about $90 million a year. Extending the breaks for manufacturers would mean a total cost of a quarter-million dollars annually, or $2.4 billion through 2030."


READ MORE related to cap-and-trade: Lawmakers delay vote on cap-and-trade amid push for affordable housing -- Liam Dillon, LAT; Gov. Jerry Brown scrambles for support on climate deal -- AP's JONATHAN J. COOPER


The Oakland Police Department sex scandal now has a U.S. District judge threatening the city of Oakland with sanctions.


East Bay Times' DAVID DEBOLT: "In the wake of a hearing Monday, U.S. District Judge Thelton Henderson on Wednesday ordered the city of Oakland to file a detailed response to a court-commissioned report critical of the police department’s handling of a sexual misconduct case or else face possible sanctions or contempt of court proceedings."


"Henderson, who oversees Oakland police’s federal reform program, gave the city a deadline of September 15. The judge’s order was filed two days after top Oakland city and police officials were summoned to a San Francisco courtroom to explain what they are doing to get the police department back on track in the aftermath of a June 21 report by attorneys Edward Swanson and Audrey Barron."

"Swanson and Barron concluded that OPD’s top brass, including then-Police Chief Sean Whent, failed to thoroughly investigate claims of officer sexual misconduct with a teenager detailed in a September 2015 suicide note by Officer Brendan O’Brien. O’Brien wrote that fellow officers were sexually involved with the girl, previously known as Celeste Guap. She is the daughter of a police dispatcher."


Kamala Harris continues to build her profile and role as a Democratic fund-raising tool. 


The Chronicle's JOE GAROFOLI: "If you’re a progressive, getting an email fundraising pitch from MoveOn.org is like seeing the fog roll in through the Golden Gate. It seemingly happens every day at the same time."

"But check out the name fronting one that just landed: Sen. Kamala Harris. Rookie senators aren’t usually asked to lend their name to pitches to MoveOn’s audience of 5 million, but the California Democrat is already paying dividends as the pitch is getting “an unusually strong” fundraising return, MoveOn Washington Director Ben Wikler told me Wednesday."

"It’s another sign that in less than seven months on the job, the former San Francisco district attorney and California attorney general has become a star fundraiser for the Democrats, who are badly in need of a star. And a lot of that has to do with Harris shedding the word that has dogged her through her career: “cautious."


Climate change could be promising a very wet future for the Bay Area.


The Chronicle's KURTIS ALEXANDER: "Coastal neighborhoods in several Bay Area cities are likely to face such frequent flooding from rising sea levels over the next century that residents will simply pack up and leave, according to a new study of the effects of climate change."

"Every local county will be dealing with frequent inundation of its bay shoreline by 2100, according to a report issued Wednesday by the Union of Concerned Scientists. The group said its report and accompanying maps, published in the peer-reviewed journal Elementa, are the first nationwide effort to identify the point at which coastal communities face the no-win decision of having to flee or fight sea-level rise."

"There have been a lot of great sea level-rise maps, but what’s been missing from these is a time frame,” said Kristina Dahl, one of the report’s authors and a climate scientist in San Francisco. “We want communities to understand how long they have not just until permanent inundation sets in, but when flooding gets so bad that it makes a place really unlivable."


Speaking of a very wet future, the same can't be said for places along the Santa Cruz coast.


The Chronicle's LIZZIE JOHNSON: "All across California, one storm after another dumped drought-busting rains last winter that put an end to water-saving emergency measures and the doomsday scenario of taps running dry."

"Except here. On the coastal bluffs just north of Santa Cruz, this hamlet is in danger of drying up because those storms were more than a 100-year-old water pipe could handle."

"The pipe was Davenport’s water lifeline — a 4-mile conduit that snakes from San Vicente Creek in the Santa Cruz Mountains to the treatment plant for the town’s 430 residents. The storms caused landslides that damaged the pipe in two spots, forcing the town to tap into the smaller Mill Creek as an emergency stopgap."


Donald Trump Jr.'s explosive emails do not appear to bother POTUS45's ardently supportive base, who claim the Kremlingate narrative is nothing but a fraudulent witch hunt mounted by angry Democrats.


The Chronicle's CAROLYN LOCHHEAD/JOHN WILDERMUTH: "Orange County Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher called the emails and subsequent meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and an attorney with ties to the Russian government “still a nothingburger” and “the same old fake news."

"Tulare Republican Rep. Devin Nunes, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said he would not discuss Russia or “anything that starts with R."

"Kings County Republican Rep. David Valadao made it clear he had no interest in discussing the latest blockbuster as he rushed past a reporter on his way to a vote on the House floor."


Sanctuary cities continue to be in the current administration's crosshairs.


The Chronicle's BOB EGELKO: "A federal judge showed little inclination Wednesday to accept the government’s assurances that President Trump isn’t about to strip San Francisco, Santa Clara County and other sanctuary cities and counties of their federal funding for refusing to cooperate with immigration officers."

"And that was before the judge learned that Attorney General Jeff Sessions, in a speech earlier Wednesday, had accused San Francisco of catering to criminals with its sanctuary policies."

"At Wednesday’s hearing in San Francisco, a Trump administration lawyer asked U.S. District Judge William Orrick III to reconsider his nationwide injunction prohibiting the government from enforcing the president’s Jan. 25 executive order by cutting off funding to defiant cities and counties."


Senate Republicans are going to give the Obamacare repeal another go-around today, but their divided opinions on the reform bill remain unresolved.


LA Times' LISA MASCARO/NOAM N. LEVEY: "Senate Republicans are set to unveil revised legislation Thursday to roll back the Affordable Care Act, even as political support has deteriorated so dramatically that it is now unclear whether GOP leaders even have enough votes to formally open the debate next week."

"Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has been meeting behind closed doors with Republicans to adjust the legislation after he was forced to abandon a vote last month amid a revolt within his own party. The earlier version would have left 22 million more Americans uninsured and has been vehemently opposed by leading doctor, patient and other healthcare advocacy groups."

"But the new versions — there may be two revised bills presented Thursday — appear to have done little to resolve differences between the GOP’s conservative and centrist factions. And passage remains seriously in doubt."


READ MORE related to Health: Lawsuit claims discrimination against millions of Medi-Cal patients, especially Latinos -- Daily News' SUSAN ABRAM


A newly-created rift in the Antarctic ice after a trillion-ton block of ice split has the world asking how that adds in to the planet's future amid a climate change crisis.


LA Times' SEAN GREENE: "A hunk of ice the size of Delaware broke off from the Antarctic Peninsula."

"Sometime in the last few days, scientists say an iceberg weighing roughly a trillion metric tons separated from the Larsen C Ice Shelf and began its long, slow drift northward through the Weddell Sea."

"The 2,400 square-mile mass of ice won’t immediately raise sea levels, but its loss has probably altered the profile of the continent’s western peninsula for decades to come."


READ MORE related to Environment: House panel backs earthquake early warning system, defying Trump's plan to kill it -- LA Times' RONG-GONG LIN II


OP-ED: Extending cap-and-trade is right thing to do.

Capitol Weekly's SUSAN TIERNEY/HEATHER ZICHAL/MINDY S. LUBBER: "California’s cap-and-trade program is working. Since it was launched in 2013, the system has helped drive down greenhouse gas emissions, while the state’s economy has flourished. The billions of dollars the program generates have funded “climate credit” payments to electric utility customers, low-carbon transit projects, and home weatherization improvements in low-income communities."

"But the future of the program is in jeopardy. Its authorization will expire in 2020. Without action by the Legislature to extend cap-and-trade, California’s powerful engine for combatting climate change will grind to a halt."


"That would be a decidedly bad outcome, both here and worldwide. Such a high-profile development risks disrupting and frustrating so many positive clean energy and climate initiatives that are good for the state’s economy and everyone’s environment."


Pro- and Anti-POTUS45 protests are planned at Donald Trump's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.


Daily News' BRENDA GAZZAR"Michelle Xai, of South Los Angeles and Randi Berger, of Encino, will be staging opposing demonstrations Saturday at President Donald Trump’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame."

"Xai, an organizer with the anti-Trump group Refuse Fascism L.A., said the message of their “non-violent political protest” and march — one of many planned across the nation that day — is that the “Trump-Pence regime must go.” The Trump administration is fascist, she said, partly for its “whipping up a white-Supremacist, lynch mob mentality” among some citizens and its views on women’s reproductive rights."

"If we don’t stop them, the regime is going to cause tremendous horrors not only to the people of America, but all over the world,” Xai said."



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