California Drafts its Own Cap-and-Trade Plan

by | Nov 25, 2009

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emissions7The California Air Resources Board (CARB) has issued a preliminary draft (PDF) of the nation’s first cap-and-trade program to control greenhouse (GHG) emissions, which is likely to influence federal regulations, reports the Los Angeles Times’ Greenspace blog.

The carbon scheme would cap emissions of large emitters including power plants, refineries, cement plants and other big factories at 15 percent below today’s levels by 2020, and allow companies to buy and sell emissions allowances to meet their goal, according to the article. The scheme would also allow limited use of high-quality offsets outside of capped sectors to cover a portion of the overall emissions reductions, according to CARB.

The cap-and-trade could deliver the state between $2 billion to $4 billion per year in revenue, depending on the market value of carbon and the auction plan for allowances, reports the LA blog.

CARB is required to adopt the cap-and-trade regulation by January 1, 2011. The rule will go into effect January 1, 2012.

The cap-and-trade scheme is part of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (AB 32), which established regulatory and market mechanisms for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

Other environmental initiatives enacted by the Governor include the Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) that requires fuel providers to reduce the carbon intensity of transportation fuels sold in the state, and an executive order directing CARB to adopt regulations increasing California’s Renewable Portfolio Standard from 20 to 33 percent by 2020.

The price of gasoline could rise by 8 cents a gallon under the cap-and-trade scheme but the air board hasn’t decided whether to bring fuel deliverers under the cap in 2012 or in 2015, according to the LA Times blog.

CARB says California is working with six other western states and four Canadian provinces through the Western Climate Initiative (WCI) to establish a regional cap-and-trade program that may deliver GHG emission reductions at costs lower than a California-only program.

California is also going with unconventional ways to limit emissions. On Nov. 18, California became the first state in the country to institute its own standards on energy efficiency of televisions sold within its borders. New TVs sold there must show reduced electricity consumption of 33 percent by 2011 and 49 percent by 2013

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