california cap trade

California Cap & Trade Proposal Is Good For Solar, Good For Jobs

by Cliff on November 8, 2010

in American Solar Heros,Climate Change,Rantings,Solar News

There are those people in America who care deeply about our common future and just don’t see climate change or environment policy as a priority. The recent national election bares witness to that statement. Leadership always requires political courage first. That is true inside companies as well as inside legislative bodies across the country.

Forget for a moment our stewardship of the earth, the air our children will breathe and their quality of their life. Don’t those deep caring Americans have to ask themselves how many new jobs is oil going to create in this country moving forward? Patriotism begins with a love for the land and a wiliness to make sacrifices for the betterment of our country.

Recently Democrats have used nuclear energy in an attempt to gain Republican support for cap-and-trade as many prominent Republicans are supportive of increased use of nuclear power. Despite such compromises however, Republicans, like big oil, continue to oppose any emissions-reduction legislation.

While us tree huggers in California were biting our nails November 2 considering the future of solar, wind and other renewable energy, New Mexico Environmental Improvement Board approved two climate change regulations. The rist establishes rules for greenhouse gas reporting and verification and the other deals with cap-and-trade regulations. Outgoing New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson commended the panel’s decision to adopt the regulations, saying that “addressing climate change immediately is the right thing to do.”

The rules will require about 63 facilities, primarily fossil fuel-fired power plants and oil and gas operations, that emit more than 25,000 metric tons of greenhouse gases annually to start cutting emissions by 2 percent per year below 2010 levels, beginning in 2012.

Clean energy supporters hailed the decision both because it establishes New Mexico as a national leader in the creation of a 21st-century U.S. energy policy, but also because it positions New Mexico as an attractive market for clean energy investment.

According to the United State Environmental Protection Agency, “Cap and Trade” is a market-based policy tool for protecting human health and the environment. A cap and trade program first sets an aggressive cap, or maximum limit, on emissions. Sources covered by the program then receive authorizations to emit in the form of emissions allowances, with the total amount of allowances limited by the cap.

Each source can design its own compliance strategy to meet the overall reduction requirement, including sale or purchase of allowances, installation of pollution controls, implementation of efficiency measures, among other options. (That means they can choose solar and wind energy) Individual control requirements are not specified under a cap and trade program, but each emissions source must surrender allowances equal to its actual emissions in order to comply. Sources must also completely and accurately measure and report all emissions in a timely manner to guarantee that the overall cap is achieved.

The California Air Resources Board’s new cap-and-trade solar proposal is likely to generate a lot of heat in the form of vehement political debates, but it could help reform the state’s solar energy industry on a broad scale according to an article written in Get Solar.

The Golden State has consistently taken the lead in terms of pioneering forward-thinking energy solar wind regulations. The new rules, which would combine a steadily decreasing cap on carbon emissions with a tradable credit and allowance system, would take effect in 2012 for electricity producers and would expand to 2015 for the providers of residential, transportation and commercial fuels.

The end result will be an incentive to switch from dirty fuels and power sources, which will grow steadily more expensive, to cleaner sources of energy and propulsion using solar and other renewable energy to create jobs.

“This program is a crucial element of reducing our greenhouse gas emissions,” said Mary D. Nichols, chairwoman of the Air Resources Board. “It will help drive innovation, create more green jobs and clean up our air and environment.”

California Get Solar reports that AB 32 Scoping Plan identifies a cap-and-trade program as one of the strategies California will employ to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change. This program will help put California on the path to meet its goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2020, and ultimately achieving an 80% reduction from 1990 levels by 2050. Under cap-and-trade, an overall limit on GHG emissions from capped sectors will be established by the cap-and-trade program and facilities subject to the cap will be able to trade permits (allowances) to emit greenhouse gas.

The Sacramento California Air Resources Board will work with stakeholders to design a California cap-and-trade program that is enforceable and meets the requirements of AB 32, including the need to consider any potential impacts on disproportionately impacted communities. Consistent with AB 32, ARB must adopt the cap-and-trade regulation by January 1, 2011, and the program itself must begin in 2012.

California is working closely with six other western states and four Canadian provinces through the Western Climate Initiative to design a regional cap-and-trade program that can deliver GHG emission reductions within the region at costs lower than could be realized through a California-only program. To that end, the ARB rule development schedule is being coordinated with the WCI timeline for promo and development of a regional cap-and-trade program.

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