Late last week a California judge issued a stay on California’s cap-and-trade program. The stay will last until state regulators are able to provide the judge with justification that a market-based system is necessary to curb greenhouse gas emissions. California’s cap-and-trade program was scheduled to begin next January.

We have previously blogged about Judge Goldsmith’s rulings on the issues here, and he continues with that line of thinking in this ruling as he says that the California Air Resources Board(CARB) has violated the California Environmental Quality Act by not looking hard enough at alternatives to the cap-and-trade program. Under the ruling CARB must set aside its previously approved trading system for emitters over 25,000 metric tons per year and stop with any other rulemaking activities related to cap-and-trade. CARB has 15 months to comply with the order.

CARB has filed an appeal with the San Francisco Superior Court. California's 1st District Court of appeals will determine the next steps and schedule oral arguments.