Dan Walters: Consumers will pay for California’s new carbon scheme – no matter how it’s written

California’s top politicians are trying to fashion a new assault on greenhouse gas emissions, and what they decide, perhaps within a few weeks, will have immense effects on what consumers spend for gasoline and myriad other products and services.

While “cap and trade” – the issuance and trading of greenhouse gas emission allowances – is a relatively small part of the state’s strenuous efforts to combat climate change, it has been the most contentious. It indirectly affects consumers by raising prices and is designed to raise billions of dollars that Capitol politicians can spend without directly taxing their constituents.

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