For climate policy advocates, California has been a kind of sanctuary state, unflagging in its commitment to ambitious mitigation strategies even as the Trump Administration moves to unwind programs at the federal level. In 2016, the California Legislature enacted an aggressive target for the state: reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030. However, the state’s climate policies have been subject to ongoing judicial and legislative uncertainty.
On April 6, 2017, a California appellate court lifted one of those clouds of uncertainty, issuing a 2-1 decision that preserves the state’s landmark cap-and-trade program – at least through 2020. California Chamber of Commerce v. CARB. Thereafter, the fate...