California establishes carbon market
While cap and trade may be dead in Washington, it's alive and well in California.
Late Thursday the California Air Resources Board approved the establishment of a carbon market that will allow the state's greenhouse gas emitters to buy and sell emission allowances.
The new regulation will cover 360 businesses representing 600 facilities. It has two phases: in 2012 all major industrial sources and utilities will be covered; by 2015 distributors of transportation fuels, natural gas and other fuels will also be included.
California aims to reduce its overall carbon output 15 percent by 2020 compared to current levels under the program, as mandated under the state's landmark 2006 climate law, A.B. 32. Just this fall, the state's voters rejected Proposition 23, which would have suspended the law.
"This program is the capstone of our climate policy, and will accelerate California's progress toward a clean energy economy," said CARB Chairman Mary D. Nichols. "It rewards efficiency and provides companies with the greatest flexibility to find innovative solutions that drive green jobs, clean our environment, increase our energy security and ensure that California stands ready to compete in the booming global market for clean and renewable energy.
Environmentalists also praised the move. Kristin Eberhard, Legal Director of Western Energy and Climate Projects at the Natural Resources Defense Council, issued a statement saying, "The adoption of this unprecedented carbon market to reduce pollution is a key milestone that will enable California to forge ahead with a clean energy economy.. This is an economically sound program that will send a steady market signal driving innovation in clean energy, reducing pollution and mitigating oil price shocks while creating jobs and promoting economic growth."
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