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California's Global Warming Law Takes A Hit

Publication Date: 
March 21, 2011
San Jose Mercury News
Paul Rogers

Professor Buzz Thompson was quoted in the San Jose Mercury News on the impact a San Francisco Court ruling, which blocked the California Air Resources Board from moving forward on a cap and trade program on greenhouse gas emissions, will affect California's Climate Change Law.

In a setback that could stall the rollout of California's landmark climate change law, a court in San Francisco has ruled that the state must spend more time studying alternatives to the measure's key feature -- a cap-and-trade program on greenhouse gas emissions -- before it goes into effect Jan. 1.

San Francisco County Superior Court Judge Ernest Goldsmith blocked the California Air Resources Board from moving forward with its rules under the law, known as AB 32, until it completes a more thorough environmental analysis. That could take months, putting into question whether the rules will take effect next year as planned.


Stanford University law professor Buzz Thompson said the ruling is not a death knell for California's climate change law.

"My view is that it is clearly a setback," said Thompson, co-director for Stanford's Woods Institute for the Environment. "But it is not an immovable obstacle. It means that California has to look more carefully at the decision it made on cap and trade, and if it wants to make the same decision, justify it in more detail."