Date of Graduation

Spring 5-21-2022

Document Access

Project/Capstone - Global access

Degree Name

Master of Science in Environmental Management (MSEM)


College of Arts and Sciences


Environmental Management

First Advisor

Stephanie Siehr


California’s Cap-and-Trade program establishes an aggregate limit on GHG emissions while empowering the regulated firms with flexibility in complying with the emissions reduction mandates. This research conducted three analyses to determine if California's carbon Cap-and-Trade program is effective at meeting its GHG goals, economically efficient, and promotes environmental equity throughout communities within California. First, the SWOT analysis investigated the Cap-and-Trade program features to determine the importance of each of the features within the program. It showed that California’s Cap-and-Trade program’s main threats are leakages, lack of partnerships, and long-term political will. Nevertheless, the program’s features strive to promote environmental effectiveness, economic efficiency and social equity. Furthermore, the complementary policy analysis explored the extent of the state’s other climate policies in reducing emissions relative to California's Cap-and-Trade program. It found that the complementary policies are the primary drivers of GHG emission reduction in California. In addition, the comparative analysis discussed the similarities and differences between California’s Cap-and-Trade program with the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). This analysis showed that California’s Cap-and-Trade program is more environmentally ambitious, economically efficient, and socially equitable than the RGGI because of it ambitious goals and coverage scope. In sum, these analyses supported the hypothesis that California’s Cap-and-Trade program is effective, efficient, and equitable. Future research should investigate potential strategies that CARB could use to influence other states in implementing a similar Cap-and-Trade program to further mitigate GHG emissions.