Five years ago, California set out to be a world leader in adopting ambitious greenhouse gas reduction targets and created the world's fourth-largest carbon-trading program. Not bad for one state.

Except it isn't helping the state, it is subsidizing others. And some of the emissions targets are not emissions at all, they are instead epidemiological claims like small micron particulate matter (PM2.5), which have had zero acute deaths but were the target of EPA and California environmentalists despite a lack of evidence.

Under cap-and-trade, California businesses get trade-able emissions permits or "allowances" equal to the amount of greenhouse gases they emit. The total number of allowances in circulation among regulated industries is based on a cap that is lowered slightly each year. Companies can also offset their emissions by purchasing credits through forestry or agriculture projects, which can be located in other states.

And that is where the money is going. A recent analysis by environmentalists found that between 2013 and 2015, 75 percent of the offset credits purchased by regulated companies, costs which are passed along to California consumers and that have a regulatory system paid for by California taxpayers, were outside of California. And companies are using higher costs for consumers to buy an environmental halo, even though 52 percent of the regulated facilities reported increases in annual average in-state greenhouse gas emissions after the initiation of the cap-and-trade program.

California law requires 25 percent of the revenue from the state's cap-and-trade program to be invested in greenhouse gas reduction measures that benefit disadvantaged communities but that isn't happening when the money is going out of state.