SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Despite fierce opposition from much of the business community, California’s grand experiment in taming global warming begins in earnest today.
State officials are set to auction tens of millions of dollars worth of carbon-emission allowances to scores of oil refiners, cement manufacturers and other large industrial polluters.
The computerized auction marks the beginning of California’s “cap-and-trade" market. The market is the centerpiece of AB 32, the state’s 2006 law aimed at reducing greenhouse gases, and today’s kickoff is being closely watched.
“A lot of eyes are on us," said Harold Pestana, a senior manager at Pacific Gas and Electric Co., one of the companies affected by the state law.
Cap and trade will force affected companies to scale back their carbon pollution — or purchase allowances to get into compliance.
State officials and environmentalists say the market-based approach gives companies flexibility in how they reduce emissions.
Many affected businesses call it a cleverly disguised tax that will cost them upwards of $1 billion in the first year.