This after California on Thursday approved rules for a multibillion-dollar carbon market, in what proponents hope and detractors fear will be a turning point for the United States toward building a national program to address global warming.
The rules adopted by the Air Resources Board, the state’s climate change regulator, limit emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases and let power plants, factories, and eventually refiners and others to trade permits to pollute in a program generally known as cap-and-trade.
After Congress failed to pass a climate change law last year, California is the vanguard of the nation’s effort to address global warming and its bid to build alternative energy and related industries.
California has mandated that a third of its electricity come from renewable sources like solar and wind. It is also encouraging “low carbon” auto fuels, like some biofuels and natural gas, and, new on Thursday, approved rules for the carbon market.
California will become the second-largest carbon market in the world, following a European system. Point Carbon, a Thomson Reuters company, forecasts the market will grow from $1.7 billion in 2012 to nearly $10 billion in 2016.
California’s move could rank with U.S. efforts decades ago to clean up air and water, and could be looked upon in the future as the moment when the United States started seriously building a program for climate change.
Photo by: Ian Shive/The Nature Conservancy (View of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.)
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