Bucking long-stalled efforts in the US to combat global climate change, California has approved final rules for a cap-and-trade program set to go into effect in 2013. The program will require large polluters in California to reduce emissions or to ‘trade’ emissions on the carbon market with another company or initiative that is sequestering carbon. The rules even allow companies outside the state to participate, creating clean energy incentives across the US.
“California alone can’t stop climate change, but we’re the eighth largest economy in the world, so what we do matters,” Adrienne Alvord, the California and Western states director with the Union of Concerned Scientists. “There’s a saying that where California goes, the rest of the country follows, and I think that’ll hold true for the state’s clean energy plan. By putting a price on carbon, these regulations will level the playing field and help us move away from old, dirty energy sources to a cleaner and more self-sufficient energy economy.”
The move by California has survived numerous law suits as well as an attempted ballot initiative pushed by oil and gas industries. The rules, developed by the California Air Resources Board (CARB), have been years in the making as the climate legislation was passed in 2006 and signed by then governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Proponents of the law say that, if successful, it could spur similar legislation throughout the country and add pressure to the federal government which has lagged on climate action.
For decades scientists have been making the case that the world is getting warmer due to greenhouse gas emissions from burning fossil fuels, as well as deforestation and agricultural practices. Global climate change has been linked to melting of the Arctic, global sea level rise, increased droughts and floods, worsening extreme weather, and desertification, with predicted impacts including increased global conflict, famine, and mass extinction.
(10/19/2011) The US Chamber of Commerce has been given an ironic award this month: the Rubber Dodo. According to the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD), the award is give to ‘those who have done the most to drive endangered species extinct.’
(10/17/2011) Global carbon emissions are a complicated matter. Currently, officials estimate national fossil fuel-related emissions by what is burned (known as production) within a nation, but this approach underestimates the emissions contributions from countries that extract oil and oil for export. Is there a better way to account for a country’s total climate change footprint?
(10/12/2011) By a margin of just two votes (74-72), Australia’s plan to put a price on carbon passed its toughest hurdle today. It is now expected that the Australian legislator will moved forward to put the carbon tax into law. The carbon tax, pushed aggressively by Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard, was just as ferociously opposed by business leaders and opposition party leader, Tony Abbott.