California and Sweden meet in climate policy forum

Both Sweden and California has first hand experiences of being leaders in environmental policy. But the value of being first is proportional to the risk and burden of being first, as Air and Resources Board Director Mary Nichols put it.

As the state of California just launched it's own emission trading system and are well underway in linking with Quebec, California again puts itself in the front position of climate regulation. In this context Mistra Indigo, RFF and ClimateWorks invited highly prominent participants to San Francisco to disuss the value of being first.

-The Californian impact on national politics is very real. What happens here has a large impact on the legislating and regulating in Washington DC. The rest of the country are watching, and making it work is really critical, RFF President Phil Sharp says in the opening remarks.

-California and Sweden cannot be seen as islands. We have to find a way to work internationally in a much more effective way, says Alan Lloyd, President International Council on Clean Transportation.

-To make it reasonable for us and our grandkids to live on this planet we need to do something about coal. We need to work with India and China on mitigating. And much, much more must be done on R&D for us to be able to adapt to climate change, says Michael Peevey, President California Public Utilities Comission.

Mistra Indigo Program Director Peringe Grennfelt provided some historical background on the regulation of air pollutants in the 70's.

- Where there are fuel taxes, emissions are dropping. To reach a 50 percent reduction in fossil fuel emissions and yet hold a 50 percent increase in income, fuel prices only have to go up 9 percent. And a progressive tax reform doesn't hurt the poor, says Professor Thomas Sterner.

A majority of americans are in favour of cap and trade. Mary Nichols, Director at Air and Resources Board gave a luncheon speak on the newly launched Californian emission trading system AB 32.

The leadership in California can be traced back to Jerry Brown in the 70’s. Since then very aggressive energy efficiency programs and appliance standards has paved the way for other states to follow. Former governor Arnold Schwarzenegger played a significant role in the emission trading scheme, as did senators Sher and Pavley.

Panelists Carolyn Fischer, Åsa Löfgren, Dick Morgenstern, Birgitta Resvik and Renae Steichen on the Competitiveness session.

Over 100 distinguished guests participated in the event. Many called for a follow up conference.

Updated: 2013-05-13

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