A special report on California’s cap-and-trade program, in collaboration with Earth Island Journal and Bay Nature magazine. It was made possible by the Fund for Investigative Journalism.

Buy a copy of the summer 2013 print edition through the website, or consider becoming a member and get every edition for the next year.

 

New 7/16/13: Public Press podcast: Reporter Chantal Jolagh reports on Gov. Jerry Brown’s raid on cap-and-trade funds to balance state budget.

Climate Change

California Carbon Trading Would Counteract Emissions From Expanded Chevron Refinery, State Says

Anna Vignet, San Francisco Public Press — Aug 5 2013 - 3:30pm

The hundreds of activists on hand Saturday at Chevron’s Richmond refinery to protest its contribution to global warming might be surprised to learn that California says it has found a way to control the company’s carbon footprint within the state, despite its plans to expand. 

What Does Approval of Plan Bay Area Mean for Region?

San Francisco Public Press — Jul 22 2013 - 2:14pm

The controversial Plan Bay Area was given the green light by the Association of Bay Area Governments and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission on Friday. The regional transportation and housing plan is meant to cut greenhouse gas emissions while allowing for more housing growth.  San Francisco Public Press reporter Angela Hart appeared  on KQED's Forum to discuss the plan.

Make Money, Save the Planet Board Game

Anna Vignet, San Francisco Public Press — Jul 17 2013 - 10:08am

Update 8/2/13: Listen to Public Press editor Michael Stoll and illustrator Anna Vignet interviewed on KALW-FM about how to design a board game to teach people how California’s cap-and-trade program works.

Is it possible to maximize your individual profits while reducing overall pollution? That’s the billion-dollar game California has now started. The goal for California industries is to work collectively to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. They do this by trading “allowances” to emit carbon — and hopefully making a profit along the way. This game board is part of a special report on climate change in the Summer print edition of the San Francisco Public Press.

Planners Claim Reduction in Car Pollution, but Details Show Overall Increase

Angela Hart, San Francisco Public Press — Jul 15 2013 - 10:28am

Inscrutable “per capita” and “business as usual” comparisons hide rise in total greenhouse gases

Essentially, it’s a math trick: The per capita figure hides a predicted regional population growth of 28 percent. That means total passenger vehicle emissions regionwide would actually rise by 9.1 percent — an indication that regional planning is not helping California’s efforts to become a model in combating climate change.

This story is part of a special report on climate change in the Summer print edition of the San Francisco Public Press.

Big-Time Preservation, Thanks to Carbon Credits

Dan Rademacher, Bay Nature — Jul 10 2013 - 10:22am

A 19,000-acre area in Sonoma County is spared from vineyard and housing development

Carbon credits were essential to funding the big costs that come along with managing such large tracts. The nonprofit’s best estimate is that the credits will yield “several hundred thousand dollars” in annual income, based on similar deals on other parcels. This story is part of a special report on climate change in the summer print edition of the San Francisco Public Press.

California’s Market for Hard-to-Verify Carbon Offsets Could Let Industry Pollute as Usual

Maureen Nandini Mitra and Michael Stoll, San Francisco Public Press — Jul 8 2013 - 1:21pm

Timber, dairy and chemical companies are lining up to sell  carbon credits, which regulators call “offsets,” to the largest California polluters so they can compensate for their greenhouse gas emissions. Many environmentalists say that because it is notoriously difficult to prove that such projects actually reduce the state’s overall carbon footprint, California should proceed slowly in approving a vast expansion of the cap-and-trade market. This story is part of a special report on climate change in the summer print edition of the San Francisco Public Press.

European, U.S. Climate Policies Trail California’s

Chorel Centers and Kevin Forestieri, San Francisco Public Press — Jul 6 2013 - 4:31pm

As California pushes forward on a wide range of aggressive goals to curb its contribution to climate change, the same solution that’s the centerpiece of the state’s effort — a cap-and-trade market for carbon emissions — is moving forward in a big way on the international stage. The European Union voted Wednesday to strengthen the role of the continental cap-and-trade system. But, as the New York Times reported, the union is far from unified on the issue. Many fear cap-and-trade would burden the European economy — in part because the U.S. has failed to pass its own federal cap-and-trade scheme.

Carbon Storage Could Aid Climate, but at What Cost?

Lisa Weinzimer, San Francisco Public Press — Jul 3 2013 - 10:30am

While building a power plant in Southern California that buries carbon dioxide underground can help the industry meet California's greenhouse gas and gas reduction goals, local concerns regarding health effects and air pollutants challenge the project's environmental claims.

This story is part of a special report on climate change in the Summer print edition of the San Francisco Public Press.

Mapping California’s Biggest Polluters

Darin Jensen, Mike Jones and Noah Arroyo, San Francisco Public Press — Jul 2 2013 - 2:59pm

Carbon dioxide, as everyone knows, is invisible. But with a little mapmaking magic, the greenhouse gas comes into sharp view in a rainbow of colors, and shows clearly how and where California contributes to global warming. California’s cap-and-trade program requires the largest emitters of greenhouse gases to pay to pollute. Each metric ton of carbon dioxide (or other greenhouse gas equivalent) requires an “allowance,” with the total supply (the “cap”) falling each year. These maps show the largest emitters. This is part of a special report on climate change in the Summer print edition of the San Francisco Public Press.

Years of Lobbying Helped Transportation Fuels Industry Win Exemptions From California’s Climate Rules

Ambika Kandasamy and Barbara Grady, San Francisco Public Press — Jun 25 2013 - 10:20am

For four years oil companies, airlines and ground transportation industry groups have petitioned California for exemptions from the state’s cap-and-trade greenhouse gas market, saying consumers would take the hit through higher prices at the pump and in stores. And in court they are still arguing that the state lacks the regulatory authority to compel participation. To a degree, they have succeeded. This story is part of a special report on climate change in the summer print edition of the San Francisco Public Press.

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