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California Introduces Cap-and-Trade Blueprint

As national climate legislation slowly simmers on the back burner of the Senate and expectations are lowered for the international climate conference in Copenhagen, environmentalists can take solace in the efforts of California, which this afternoon issued the country’s first broad-based cap-and-trade blueprint to reduce greenhouse emissions.

The Los Angeles Times reports:

The pioneering effort would cap greenhouse gases emitted by more than 600 power plants, refineries, cement plants and other big factories at 15% below today’s levels by 2020. And it would allow companies to buy and sell emissions allowances among themselves as a way to meet the overall goal less expensively. [...]

Cap-and-trade, a centerpiece of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s push for flexible market-based regulations, could yield $2 billion to $4 billion per year in revenue to the state from affected industries, depending on the market value of carbon, how many allowances for greenhouse gases are auctioned, how many are given away. [...]

The state’s landmark 2006 law requires emissions of planet-heating pollutants to drop to 1990 levels by 2020. The cap-and-trade program will take effect beginning in 2012, complementing strict rules to cut emissions from automobiles and slash the carbon content of fuels.

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