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Citizens Climate Lobby v. California Air Resources Board

ELR Citation: 43 ELR 20024
Nos. CGC-12-5195544 , (Cal. Super. Ct., 01/25/2013)

A California court rejected a challenge to the emissions offset component of California's greenhouse gas (GHG) cap-and-trade program promulgated by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) under the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006. Under the program, all offsets must be additional, meaning that the reductions in GHG emissions would only occur due to the financial incentive provided by the offset credit. But instead of creating a unique baseline for determining additionality for each project, CARB used a standards-based approach under which a single baseline is created for a category of projects. CARB adopted four protocols, each of which applies to a particular type of project: livestock; ozone depleting substances; urban forests; and U.S. forests. Environmental groups filed suit, arguing that the compliance offset protocols fail to ensure that reductions will be additional. But all parties agree that a standards-based approach falls within the ambit of the Global Warming Solutions Act. In addition, the challenged protocols were reasonably necessary to effectuate the purpose of the Act, and the protocols are not arbitrary or capricious.