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State Air Resources Board Will Consider Cap and Trade

Aired 10/19/11 on KPBS News.

California’s air regulators are expected to adopt the final rules for a contentious “cap and trade” program Thursday. It’s a key part of the state’s landmark effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

California’s cap and trade program has been years in the making. It survived challenges in court and now faces a vote by the state Air Resources Board. Cap and trade would set a declining limit or “cap” on industries’ greenhouse gas emissions. Companies could buy permits in a marketplace to exceed their allowed limits. Companies with lower emissions can sell or trade their allowances.

Dan Kalb with the Union of Concerned Scientists believes the program is certain to change as it develops but this is a good start. “This program as designed, perfect or imperfect, is going to get a heck of a lot of emissions reductions in some sectors of the economy,” he said. “If we didn’t do this program that they failed to take action, we wouldn’t get any of those reduction.”

Many businesses have been critical of the program. Republican state Assemblyman Dan Logue claims cap and trade will drive business from the state. “This is probably the absolute worst thing that an organization or regulatory board can do to the people of California at the state of the recession that we’re in,” said Logue.

The caps on emissions would start in 2013. The overall goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2020.

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