Keep California oil in the ground? The goal is good, but the policy doesn’t pencil out

California has made significant strides against climate change except when it comes to transportation. Since 2012, per capita greenhouse gas emissions from cars, trucks and airplanes have been rising by about 1.5% a year.

One policy response got a boost earlier this year from a report by the Stockholm Environment Institute: Curtail California oil production by banning new drilling or by gradually phasing out all in-state oil production. …

I agree with the environmentalists advocating for this policy that California must lead the US climate change fight. But I don’t think this is the way to do it.

First, California would take a large economic hit for a small reduction in emissions. The SEI report calculates that for each ton of reduced emissions, income to California oil producers would fall by $110 to $330. That is 7 to 22 times higher than the value that the state’s cap and trade program puts on cutting emissions, and 2 to 6 times greater than the most recent scientific estimates of the “social cost of carbon,” the incremental damages from releasing an additional ton of greenhouse gases.

Click here to read the full article by the Los Angeles Times.


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