California Air Resources Board releases draft cap-and-trade plan

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) today released the preliminary draft cap-and-trade regulation. CARB staff would like to have comments by January 11th of next year. A new proposal based on the comments will then be issued in Spring 2010.

Some quick key points:

1) The proposal limits a covered entity’s use of offsets to a maximum of four percent of the allowances that the entity surrenders at the end of a compliance period.
2) CARB staff are considering shortening the compliance period from three years to one year.
3) Cement manufacturers are covered under this proposal.
4) CARB will continue public discussion about the co-pollutant issue and release a white paper on this subject in the coming year. Environmental justice (EJ) advocates are concerned that allowing regulated entities under cap-and-trade to pay to emit greenhouse gases (GHG) will mean allowing them to continue emitting hazardous co-pollutants associated with the GHG emissions. These emissions often disproportionately impact low-income communities of color. EJ groups sued CARB earlier this year (Sean posted about it here) over the disproportionate impact that the cap-and-trade program, as outlined in the CARB scoping plan, would have. This debate will be one of the more interesting to watch in the coming months.

Game on!