The California Chamber of Commerce launched a legal torpedo at the state’s new carbon trading market, set to begin Wednesday.
The group, which represents 13,000 businesses in the state, is asking the Sacramento Superior Court to invalidate the state’s first official auction of permits for large emitters of greenhouse gases.
The suit challenges the California Air Resources Board's authority under the state's 2006 climate-change law, AB 32, to sell the permits, called "allowances," for the purpose of generating revenue for the state.
"It’s not about AB 32, it’s not about cap-and-trade, it’s not about climate science. It’s about the revenue-raising auction. We think it’s illegal. We think that in the fullness of time, a judge is going to agree with us. We want AB 32 implemented cost-effectively like the law," said Loren Kaye, president of California Foundation for Commerce and Education, a think tank associated with the Chamber.
The group was not seeking an injunction to halt the program immediately, said Kaye.
The cap-and-trade plan places a limit, or cap, on emissions from individual polluters. Businesses are required to cut emissions to cap levels or buy allowances from other companies for each ton over the cap that is discharged annually. If a business were to cut emissions below the cap, it could profit by selling its extra allowances.