Cap and Trade to Start in California

David Baker in the SF Chronicle reminds us that Wednesday is the GO day for a six-years-in-the-planning Cap and Trade system which, so far, includes California only.  Big risks.


Come Wednesday, California will take its boldest, riskiest step yet to fight global warming, opening a market that for the first time will put a price on greenhouse gas emissions in the state.

The cap-and-trade system, six years in the making, will force owners of power plants and factories to buy and sell permits to spew carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. If it works, trimming emissions without trashing the state’s economy, it could serve as a model for the nation.

If it fails, the fallout could doom federal climate-change legislation for years to come.

Read more:

And for those interested, he sketches out how it works, here.

States Stealing from Own Climate Funds

Not so good…

In New York, government officials found $90 million to pay for schools by dipping into money generated by a multistate greenhouse gas initiative.

In New Hampshire, the state took $3.1 million from a similar environmental fund. And in New Jersey, the government diverted its whole share: $65 million.

At least three financially troubled states have discovered in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a cap-and-trade system, a convenient pool of money that can be drawn on to help balance state budgets.

In just over two years, the initiative, known as RGGI, has generated more than $729 million for the 10 states that have participated. Each state is supposed to use its share of the money raised to invest in renewable energy and to promote energy efficiency and consumer benefits, like programs that help low-income electricity customers pay their utility bills.

But the money is proving too much of a temptation for states not to use in other ways.

NY Times