California imposes cap-and-trade for carbon emissions
The California Air Resources Board voted unanimously to create a marketplace for greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide, setting a cap on these emissions for the state as a whole, but providing the flexibility for companies to purchase emission credits if they are unable to reduce their output.
This system is designed to encourage the adoption of technologies to reduce emissions without imposing blanket penalties for anyone above a certain level. By the end of this decade, regulators hope to reduce carbon emissions to levels seen in 1990, roughly 22 percent below expected levels.
The Los Angeles Times notes that the new policy makes California the first state to implement this type of "cap-and-trade" scheme, after the federal government abandoned plans for a national cap-and-trade scheme because of economic concerns.
"If California gets it right, others will see it's possible to regulate greenhouse gas emissions while protecting its economy and while fostering a new green economy and industry," Gary Gero, president of Climate Action Reserve, a nonprofit that runs North America's largest carbon offset registry, told the Times.