The California Air Resources Board recently voted to enact a cap-and-trade program to help reduce California’s contribution to global greenhouse gas emissions. In a unanimous decision, the Board passed the landmark legislation, which it hopes can serve as model for other states. California currently has a state mandate to bring emissions down to 1990 levels by 2020 and believes this new policy will help achieve its goal. The cap-and-trade law will force the state’s largest producers of carbon dioxide to meet the state determined cap on emissions by 2013. Those producers who are able to reduce CO2 emissions below those benchmarks will then have carbon credits or offsets that they can sell to the producers who cannot. The hope is that the system will create an added incentive to reduce emissions by making the amount reduced under the cap or the “carbon savings,” a tradable good. While some have decried the new program as anti-business, others claim that it will actually create new jobs in a more environmentally friendly and sustainable economy.
Very interesting, especially given that the US House is attempting to exempt US airlines from the EU’s cap & trade system. Curious to see how California’s system will play out in when enforcement begins in 2013…