California becomes first state to adopt cap-and-trade program

The California Air Resources Board, in a unanimous vote, adopts landmark regulations of greenhouse gas emissions to curb climate change and meet targets for reducing pollution.

California’s cap-and-trade program aims to limit greenhouse gases from industrial plants such as oil refineries.

The California Air Resources Board on Thursday unanimously adopted the nation’s first state-administered cap-and-trade regulations, a landmark set of air pollution controls to address climate change and help the state achieve its ambitious goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The complex market system for the first time puts a price on heat-trapping pollution by allowing California’s dirtiest industries to trade carbon credits. The rules have been years in the making, overcoming legal challenges and an aggressive oil industry-sponsored ballot initiative.

The air board met in Sacramento for more than eight hours in a packed hearing room. Board members listened to sometimes scathing comments from union workers fearful of losing their jobs and a parade of industry representatives who likewise characterized the regulations as anti-business. Other speakers called the proposal historic and groundbreaking.

Late in the day, as the eight board members voted to approve the regulations, to scattered applause, Chairman Mary Nichols looked up and said, “We’ve done something important.”


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