Monday, November 19, 2012

California Tackles Climate Change, But Will Others Follow?

Daniel Stone
Can California save the planet?
The state that has instigated every key U.S. effort to curb fossil-fuel emissions since the 1960s now will tackle the greatest challenge of all—reining in greenhouse gases—with a cap-and-trade system launched this week.
In a closed three-hour auction conducted online Wednesday, California's energy companies and large manufacturers placed their bids for 62 million permits that essentially give them the right to pollute. Using these chits and a healthy number of free permits California has allocated them, the businesses begin in January operating in a market-based program that officials hope will cut the state's carbon dioxide emissions by 20 percent over the next eight years. (Related: "Pictures: Nine Surprisingly Gassy Cities")
The aim is ambitious, and for advocates of action on climate change, there is a larger goal still. They are hoping that California will lead the way to the kind of broader action on global warming that has been stymied both in Washington, D.C., and in international negotiations. (Related: "Climate Change Talks Hinge on 'Green Growth,' says De Boer")
"I think this will show that you can decouple economic growth from emissions growth," said Tim O'Connor, director of the Environmental Defense Fund's California Climate Initiative. "We think California will be the best of all examples. This is the strongest and boldest move yet in the U.S. to combat climate change." Read More