The cap and trade program, devised and administered by the California Air Resources Board, sets a 'cap' on how much greenhouse gas emissions can be released, and uses a carbon trading scheme to achieve it. It is just one element of the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, or Assembly Bill 32. ARB devised an extensive Climate Change Program that is intended to reduce state greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. The law, and all its programs, would be suspended if Proposition 23 passes on Tuesday.
From the Sacramento Bee: "The cap-and-trade program essentially places a cap on the amount of carbon emitted by the state's 500 largest polluters. Companies that pollute less then their limit – to be set by the state – can sell their unused allowances to companies that pollute heavily, creating market incentives for the companies to reduce emissions voluntarily."
It will begin January, 2012....assuming Prop 23 fails.