Just days after Hurricane Sandy thrust the issue of climate change into the national spotlight, California on Wednesday (No.v 14) became the first state to require a wide range of businesses to reduce or offset their greenhouse gas emissions. At 10 a.m. the Air Resources Board held its first auction to sell pollution allowances under the state’s cap-and-trade law.
The auction came six years after former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into law AB 32, which requires a 17% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 from 1990 levels.
The cap-and-trade program initially will affect 600 factories and other facilities which produce 85% of the state’s total emissions of carbon dioxide. The program is expected to generate $500 million to $1 billion in revenues in the first year.
The San Jose Mercury News carried an interview with Mary Nichols, Chair of the Air Resources Board, on November 11.