California's first carbon market takes flight

Last week’s auction also coincided with the release of two surveys showing resounding voter support for California’s efforts to hold polluters accountable and invest the proceeds in clean energy technologies and infrastructure. The first, from Lake Research, revealed that a 65 percent majority of voters in California, Oregon and Washington favor a proposal to “invest funds raised by charging large companies climate pollution fees in expanding clean energy sources,” including 45 percent who strongly favor it. 

The poll also found broad support for the proposal to “reduce climate pollution and invest in clean energy sources by charging large companies for the pollution they create that contributes to climate change” across all three states. When given the option to support investing the pollution fees in reducing the deficit, more voters favored investing the revenues in clean energy.

The second, a statewide poll of registered voters conducted by the LA Times/USC Dornsife, found Californians support the state’s cap-and-trade program by a 2-to-1 margin. Sixty-three percent of voters agreed that California needs to break from "outdated energy policies," and supported the statement that cap and trade "will reward companies that produce alternative energy like wind and solar, and will re-charge our economy by creating jobs, attracting new, innovative companies to California, while reducing our dependence on foreign oil.”

As California’s carbon market hits its stride, one thing is clear: Despite the oil industry’s best efforts, Californians want to move forward.

This piece originally appeared on the National Resources Defense Council Staff Blog on Nov. 19, and references to "today" in the original post have been changed to "yesterday." It is reprinted with permission.