The message from California is that, since cap-and-trade legislation died on Capitol Hill in 2010, climate policy experiments haven’t vanished — they’ve just gotten smaller
By Eric Roston
Amid a presidential campaign that’s studiously avoiding the whole topic, Californians are launching the world’s second largest “cap-and-trade” program for ratcheting down industrial greenhouse gas emissions from large emitters.
It’s a development worth chewing over before next week’s Global Climate Change Forum, a Carbon Disclosure Project event that will be moderated by Diane Brady of Bloomberg Businessweek and broadcast on Bloomberg.com.
Last week, California’s Air Resources Board (known as CARB) conducted a test-run of the online system that companies will use to buy CO2 pollution permits this fall. It’s not a significant story in and of itself (“It’s about as exciting as paying your bills online,” a CARB spokesman said of the new system). Government and corporate officials are relieved that the system worked smoothly before the first actual auction of permits, which is expected in November. Years of politics, legal-wrangling and regulation-writing have brought California’s emissions program this far. About 85 percent of the state’s emissions will eventually be covered by the program.