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China to have world's 2nd largest carbon trading scheme by 2014

24th January, 2013

China will have the world's second largest carbon trading scheme by 2014, or twice as big as Australia's regime, a latest report showed Thursday.

Carbon price of $29 'not implausible', says Blair Comley

20th January, 2013

THE head of the federal climate change department says it is "not implausible" the European carbon price could rise to $29 a tonne by mid-2015, when Australia's emissions trading scheme begins.


California's Carbon Caps are Contentious but Coming

31st July 2012

November marks a big date. It’s not just about a presidential election. It’s also about the kick off to California’s cap-and-trade system to limit carbon emissions.

The Golden State, in fact, will be operating what will become the world’s second largest cap-and-trade program, next to the one run in Europe. It is also getting established at a time when similar congressional attempts to curb greenhouse gas emissions have come to a screeching halt. So, why now and what does it portend for any American revival of such a movement?

“To be successful over the long-term, this program is going to have to deliver demonstrable benefits for Californians — benefits that we (not only) can see in terms of the environment and air quality, but also benefits that we can see in terms of economic development, job creation, cleaner energy and transportation infrastructure,” says Mary Nichols, chair of the California Air Resources Board.

The state will start its program in January 2013 but in November 2012, it will begin auctioning the credits — a pursuit expected to raise $1 billion. At first, 90 percent of those allowances will be given to participants and 10 percent must be purchased. By 2016, the program is expected to be in full force, and a $10 billion market. About 600 industrial facilities will be affected: cement companies, oil refineries and electric power generators.

Cap-and-trade works like this: Governments set pollution limits and then credits are either auctioned or allocated to industry. Those companies that are able to exceed the expectations can either bank their allowances for future use or sell them to other businesses that are unable to meet their obligations. As the ceilings come down, overall emissions then fall.

Many California businesses have argued that forcing reductions in carbon emissions through a cap-and-trade platform will cause industry to move out-of-state. But the California Air Resources Board voted unanimously in October 2011 to enact such a program that is expected to cover 85 percent of the state’s emission sources, reasoning that it would be healthier for both the economy and the environment.

The move to such a free market mechanism comes during the presidential contest. President Obama has supported carbon controls, backing a 2009 House bill that relied on cap-and-trade. The presumptive Republican nominee, Mitt Romney, however, opposes such a trading scheme, all of which leaves open whether California’s regulatory style would be replicated elsewhere and under what time frame.

“We believe creating a metric that assesses economic leakage and other economic impacts that may be attributed to the regulation should be made a priority,” says the California Chamber of Commerce.

In the Northeast, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative is already in place and is a mandatory program is to reduce carbon levels by 10 percent by 2018. That plan requires large power producers to purchase credits for each ton of carbon dioxide emitted. That money is then allocated to state participants for investments in such such initiatives as energy efficiency and clean energy projects.

Proponents are saying that the Northeast cap-and-trade plan is creating jobs in the clean energy sector. A February 2011 report by Synapse Energy says that more than 80 percent of the $900 million collected under this free market program have been reinvested in energy efficiency, renewable energy and direct bill assistance. Critics, such as New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, however, are arguing that trading schemes are nothing more than a tax on electricity, which hurts residential customers and businesses.

Source: Forbes