First U.S. Economy-Wide Cap & Trade Coming to California


When California regulators took the major step on December 16th of adopting cap and trade regulations (PDF) , they did what Congress has been unable to do, and appears unlikely anytime soon, at the federal level. At more than 3,000 pages in length, the regulations are the epitome of complex. Even so there still are a number of important issues to be determined. And while adoption might not have happened at all if California voters last November had approved an initiative to suspend the state’s landmark Global Warming Solutions Act (also known as AB 32), the fate of the new cap and trade program may yet depend on intepretation of another initiative that voters did pass.

State Program

Cap and trade has been the centerpiece for compliance with AB 32's mandate to reduce California's greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, amounting to a 15 percent overall reduction. Unlike the 10-state Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) emissions trading program that focuses solely on power plant emissions, California's will apply economy-wide.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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