Covering California’s cap-and-trade program, Lisa Song of ProPublica spoke with Near Zero’s Danny Cullenward.

“There’s no question a well-designed regulation on oil and gas can have an effect,” said Danny Cullenward, a Stanford researcher and policy director at Near Zero, a climate policy think tank. “And that was traded away for a weak cap-and-trade program.”

Cullenward said the reality of society’s reliance on fossil fuels leaves regulators in a bind — stuck between knowing what it will take to manage climate change but adopting a market solution that’s too weak by design. Any attempt to seriously strengthen it risks a consumer backlash that makes it “politically toxic,” he said.

“Essentially, what we’re doing is kicking the can,” Cullenward said. “We’re saying, keep prices low, let’s not do a lot, and later, we’ll hope for a miracle.”

Read the full article, “Cap and Trade Is Supposed to Solve Climate Change, but Oil and Gas Company Emissions Are Up,” by Lisa Song, on the ProPublica website.