California’s war on carbon: Is it winning?

The centerpiece of California’s effort to reduce carbon emissions, an auction system for pollution credits known as cap and trade, has faltered badly in the past year. Businesses have bought far fewer credits than expected, depriving the state of an expected windfall for such big-ticket items as high speed rail.

That doesn’t mean the state isn’t making progress in its crusade against carbon, however: Greenhouse gas emissions in the state fell by 9 percent between 2004 and 2014, according to data compiled by the California Air Resources Board. Although more recent statistics aren’t yet available, the air board says it believes emissions are continuing to fall.

These numbers mean the state is on track to meet its target of reducing annual emissions to 431 million metric tons by 2020, the same amount of greenhouse-gas pollution it produced in 1990, said air board spokesman Dave Clegern.

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