Calif debuts landmark program to cap emissions (“cap-and-trade” )
By JASON DEAREN
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - California began auctioning permits Wednesday for greenhouse gas emissions, launching one of the world's most ambitious efforts to cut heat-trapping gases from industrial sources.
The California Air Resources Board said it began selling the pollution "allowances" in a closed, online auction expected to create the world's second-largest marketplace for carbon emissions.
Under the program, the state sets a limit, or cap, on emissions from individual polluters. Businesses are required to either cut emissions to cap levels or buy allowances through the auction from other companies for each extra ton of pollution discharged annually.
The board said the results of the auction - what price is paid for a ton of carbon, and how many companies participated - would be released Nov. 19.
In this April 30, 2008 file photo, American flags are seen near the Shell refinery, in Martinez, Calif. On Weds., Nov. 14, 2012, California’s largest greenhouse gas emitters will for the first time begin buying permits in a landmark “cap-and-trade” system meant to control emissions of heat-trapping gases and spur investment in clean technologies. The program is a key part of California’s 2006 climate-change law, AB32, a suite of regulations that dictate standards for cleaner-burning fuels, more efficient automobiles and increased use of renewable energy. (AP Photo/Ben Margot, File)