UPDATE 12:30 P.M.: California Watch yesterday posted a report saying that the rules under consideration by CARB will create a potential windfall for the timber industry by allowing companies to earn carbon credits from the re-planting of clear-cut trees. The companies would then be free to sell those credits on the new carbon trading exchange.
The California Air Resources Board is meeting today and tomorrow and is widely expected to adopt proposed regulations from its staff that include a cap-and-trade carbon-trading system. The regulations are part of the state's AB 32 law, which aims to cut greenhouse gases to 1990 levels by 2020.
You can watch the meeting live or catch up on the story by listening to KQED's Craig Miller on The California Report. Miller, the Senior Editor of KQED's Climate Watch, is tweeting live from the CARB proceedings, and has also put up a post explaining the new carbon trading system, excerpted below:
...while Washington is "looking for other means" to reduce the carbon emissions that cause global warming, the table is set for cap & trade in California. By day's end Thursday, the state will likely have the nation's first system that covers more than electric utilities.
If the California Air Resources Board formally adopts a set of proposed regulations from its staff, as expected, then starting in early 2012, major emitters of greenhouse gases will come under the program. That 's anything that puts out more than 25,000 tonnes of C02 per year; we're talking power plants, cement kilns, glass factories and of course, oil refineries, where carbon emissions are measured in the millions of metric tons per year.
In 2015 the program will expand and follow these oil and gas products downstream; that means producers will have to account--and eventually pay for--not just the emissions from drilling and refining, but for that carbon produced when the fuel actually gets burned in trains and planes and automobiles.
I say "eventually" because the pay-to-play part doesn't really kick in right away. At first, the state will give away 90% of emissions permits. That will help ease the transition for industry and, in theory, keep companies from fleeing California.
Jamie Fine, a policy watcher with the Environmental Defense Fund in Sacramento, figures that by 2015, more than half the carbon permits will be auctioned off.
Last month, after the proposed rules were released, I interviewed Miller about them, as well as about Proposition 23, the failed voter initiative to suspend the anti-global warming law until the jobless rate vastly improved.
Just before the election, the California Air Resources Board released its plan to implement AB 32. Can you summarize the plan, including the cap and trade component?