California acts on climate change
California has been behind every key U.S. effort to curb limit fossil-fuel emissions since the 1960s. This week it launched a cap and trade system as part of its climate mitigation strategy.
California's cap-and-trade system will cover any operation in the state that emits more than 25,000 metric tons of carbon annually. The system will affect energy companies, glass and cement makers, fruit and vegetable canners, large-scale breweries, and many more.
Opponents argue that the additional costs will cause business divestment. But California has taken steps to ease the transition. Ninety percent of the initial permits were given away free, with just 10 percent auctioned. By 2020, 50 percent of the permits will be auctioned. The slow phase-in, in theory, would keep the price of emitting carbon low in the early years with a gradual ramp-up.
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