"SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Oil refineries, utilities and other companies that must pay to emit greenhouse gases in California have saved up so many credits allowing them to pollute that it may jeopardize the state’s ability to reach its ambitious climate goals, according to a report by a panel that advises state officials.
California runs one of the world’s largest carbon markets, known as “cap-and-trade,” which requires companies to buy, trade or receive pollution “allowances” equivalent to how much they plan to emit. The state makes fewer allowances available over time, with the goal of spurring the companies to pollute less as allowances become scarcer and more expensive.
California’s market has been closely watched by both advocates and critics of efforts to control emissions using market forces, not mandates. The state is required to reduce emissions 40% below 1990 levels by 2030, an ambitious target, and the state has previously said more than a third of those reductions will come from cap and trade."
Kathleen Ronayne reports for the Associated Press February 17, 2022.