California Carbon Trading Program Released - But Election Could Kill It

CA Air Resources Board announced some of the important elements of the carbon trading scheme they developed for the 500 largest stationary emitters in the state. Of course, if Proposition 23 should pass on Nov. 2, forgetaboutit!

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.

Full Story: California air board to unveil cap-and-trade program for CO2

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Comments

Irvin Dawid's picture
Correspondent

NYT on CA's carbon trading program

NYT environmental writer, FELICITY BARRINGER, writes that the implications of the just announced CA carbon trading program are enormous on the national scene since Senator Kerry's & Lieberman's climate change legislation was defeated in the U.S. Senate. Once again, the major caveat is that AB 32 withstands a ballot initiative tomorrow!

Cap and Trade, the California Way (Oct. 31): "This California iteration of cap-and-trade rules comes to a final vote of the Air Resources Board on Dec. 16...The program would not kick in until 2015 for the carbon-dioxide content in the fuels ...made by the 21 refineries that process crude oil...The program would not kick in until 2015 for the carbon-dioxide content in the fuels either made by the 21 refineries that process crude oil...These account for nearly 60 percent of the industrial sector’s emissions."

Well that's quite a %! Note that those emissions are considered 'industrial', not part of transportation - which accounts for 41.2% of the state's GHG emissions [see: INVENTORY OF CA GHG EMISSIONS AND SINKS: 1990 TO 2002 UPDATE; 2005 Energy Report (PDF, Page 8 of 85; pie chart)]. In fact, 60% of 22.8% industrial emissions=13.68% - add that to 41.2% = 54.84%.

Interestingly, one could state that more electric cars would reduce the industrial sector emissions but conceivably increase the 'electric power' sector emissions (at 2005=19.6%).

To me, this is a clarion call for Californians to get out of their cars and trucks, and to industry to put more freight on rail, if the transportation sector is to reduce their direct and indirect emissions of 54.84% as of 2005.
Irvin Dawid, Palo Alto, CA

Double Counting CO2??

"The program would not kick in until 2015 for the carbon-dioxide content in the fuels either made by the 21 refineries that process crude oil...These account for nearly 60 percent of the industrial sector’s emissions."

Well that's quite a %! Note that those emissions are considered 'industrial', not part of transportation - which accounts for 41.2% of the state's GHG emissions

I think you are double-counting.

The state cap-and-trade program counts those emissions as industrial. It attributes all the CO2 content of the fuels to the refineries, even if the CO2 is not emitted until the oil is ultimately burned by cars.

The earlier study that you cite counts those emissions as transportation, but they are the same emissions, just categorized differently in the earlier study and in the state cap-and-trade.

Because the cap-and-trade program applies only to a limited number of industrial emitters, the program is more effective if it shifts those emissions from transportation to industry.

I think that is what these figures mean. Correct me if I am wrong.

Charles Siegel

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