Skip to main content

LATEST UPDATES: Tracking COVID-19 | Vaccines | Racial Justice

Impacts of California’s ‘Cap And Trade’

Jim Waring, CEO and president of CleanTech San Diego, talks about California's "Cap and Trade" program.

We're sorry. This audio clip is no longer available. A transcript has been made available.

Additional Information

California cap & trade information - California Air Resource Board

California’s cap-and-trade program, designed to reduce air pollution, will begin Jan. 1, 2013.

Jim Waring, head of CleanTECH San Diego, told KPBS the program will cap the amount of carbon dioxide a business can omit. If a business stays below that cap, it can trade its leftover carbon dioxide to other businesses. In other words, businesses can buy the right to produce more carbon dioxide.

"You buy the additional credit, some people would say you buy the right to pollute, but what you're really doing is you're buying tons of CO2 emissions allowances," Waring said.

But Waring said he doesn't think the option to buy will encourage businesses to continue polluting.

"As a company, you're not going to incur a cost just because it's easier," he said. "You're going to try to not have to buy those credits."

The first part of the cap and trade law will only apply to businesses who produce more than 25,000 metric tons of CO2 equivalents a year. That includes San Diego businesses Qualcomm and SDG&E.

An average family of four emits 20 metric tons in a year--1,250 times less.

The state of California has also reserved some carbon dioxide credits to sell to businesses. Last week, the California Assembly approved a plan for how to spend the money it earns by selling these credits.

Waring said the question of how to spend that money has become somewhat controversial, but said the idea is to spend it on energy conservation programs.

The cap-and-trade law requires a 25 percent reduction in California's CO2 emissions by 2020.


San Diego News Now podcast branding

San Diego news; when you want it, where you want it. Get local stories on politics, education, health, environment, the border and more. New episodes are ready weekday mornings. Hosted by Anica Colbert and produced by KPBS, San Diego and the Imperial County's NPR and PBS station.

  • Need help keeping up with the news that matters most? Get the day's top news — ranging from local to international — straight to your inbox each weekday morning.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Midday Edition banner

KPBS Midday Edition is a daily radio news magazine keeping San Diego in the know on everything from politics to the arts.

Want more KPBS news?
Find us on Twitter and Facebook, or sign up for our newsletters.

To view PDF documents, Download Acrobat Reader.