The California Air Resources Board voted 9-1 to adopt cap and trade regulations for AB32, California’s 2006 climate law. The move, which establishes the first compliance carbon trading system in the United States, opens the door for carbon offsets generated via forest conservation projects.
The new rules will allow polluting industries to buy and sell emissions allowances. 90 percent of allowances would be free during the early stages of the program, but as the cap tightens, fewer allowances will be available. By 2020 the cap would limit emissions to 1990 levels.
In the early years of the cap, companies that are unable to reduce CO2 emissions to target levels would be allowed to “offset” a portion of their emissions–up to 8 percent of total emissions reductions–via carbon credits generated through various activities, including forest conservation projects in tropical countries. In total, California will accept up to 74.3 million tons of CO2 reductions from such credits by 2020, according to John O. Niles, director of the Tropical Forest Group, a forest policy organization.
Last month California signed an agreement with two states–Acre, Brazil and Chiapas, Mexico–to integrate credits generated by the reducing emissions from deforestation (RED) mechanism into its cap-and-trade system.
California’s climate law enjoys strong voter support. A ballot challenge mounted last month–Proposition 23, which would have repealed AB32–was soundly defeated at the polls.
Analysts say California’s AB32 could serve as a model for future cap-and-trade legislation in other states.
(12/15/2010) Amid the whirlwind of climate change news before and after the Cancún climate conference, including a landmark agreement on REDD+ (reducing emissions from deforestation, and related pro-forest actions), an important story seems to have passed by with little notice. Over the past two months, several new analyses have given clear evidence that deforestation has gone down over the past several years. In fact, the drop is quite impressive, and shows that of all the approaches to avoiding the worst consequences of global warming, reducing tropical deforestation is the one that has contributed by far the most to date.
(12/07/2010) In his concession speech after the 2010 mid-term elections, President Obama said that prospects for meaningful U.S. climate change legislation are doubtful and will be for years. With the US and the international community unable to take even modest steps to combat global warming, the State of California has stepped up in a big, big way. Despite record unemployment rates, deficits and unemployment, California voters trounced a measure that would have suspended AB 32, California’s landmark climate change law. California’s AB 32 cap and trade program will soon be the biggest market for compliance emission reductions outside of Europe. In the wreckage of the Copenhagen talks and the new political landscape in America, California is the most dynamic jurisdiction for climate change implementation.
(11/17/2010) California and other states launched an international initiative that will work toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions and transitioning toward a low carbon economy in the absence of a global climate deal.
(07/22/2009) Until now saving rainforests seemed like an impossible mission. But the world is now warming to the idea that a proposed solution to help address climate change could offer a new way to unlock the value of forest without cutting it down.Deep in the Brazilian Amazon, members of the Surui tribe are developing a scheme that will reward them for protecting their rainforest home from encroachment by ranchers and illegal loggers. The project, initiated by the Surui themselves, will bring jobs as park guards and deliver health clinics, computers, and schools that will help youths retain traditional knowledge and cultural ties to the forest. Surprisingly, the states of California, Wisconsin and Illinois may finance the endeavor as part of their climate change mitigation programs.