Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Nishant Dass

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2022 Benjamin A. Cooney


Over the past several decades, climate change has become an increasingly important topic of conversation. Government agencies across the globe have developed different methods to mitigate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, as well as the effect GHG emissions have on the environment. In the state of California, a Cap-and-Trade emissions trading system was put in place in hopes of reducing GHG emissions in California. Within this emissions trading system, the California Air Resources Board holds quarterly carbon allowance auctions, allowing entities under regulation of the Cap-and-Trade program to purchase carbon allowances in order to satisfy emissions requirements. Through these auctions, billions of dollars of revenue have been generated and appropriated to greenhouse gas emissions reductions projects aimed at further reducing California’s carbon footprint. This paper investigates county-level economic, social, and political factors that play a role in the appropriation of these funds in comparison to the total auction revenue generated. The findings of this paper show that the investments allocated to projects in specific counties peak during senate election years. Additionally, democratic counties receive significantly higher amounts of investment, in proportion to the total auction revenue that they generate, than non-democratic counties. These findings imply that a political bias may exist within this system of the allocation of Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund (GGRF) investments to emissions reductions projects in particular counties.