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Monday, December 31, 2012

California Moves To Cap And Trade Carbon Emissions

The Chevron oil refinery in Richmond, Calif. is one of the facilities affected by the state's landmark “cap-and-trade” system. (AP/Paul Sakuma)

The Chevron oil refinery in Richmond, Calif. is one of the facilities affected by the state’s landmark “cap-and-trade” system. (AP/Paul Sakuma)

Starting New Year’s day, the cost of doing business in California will go up for companies with carbon emissions that contribute to climate change.

A new and groundbreaking environmental law, called AB-32, is going into effect. It’s a cap and trade system that mandates that about 350 companies begin paying  for the carbon dioxide they emit into the atmosphere. The goal is to encourage them to reduce those emissions by spurring innovations that will lead to new technologies and new jobs for California’s economy.

But might the companies just pack up and leave, or pass on the cost to consumers?

The state is aiming to get carbon emissions down to 1990 levels by 2020, without hurting the California economy.


  • Felicity Barringer, national environmental reporter for the New York Times. She tweets @felicitybarr.

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Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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