California to Join Canada Provinces in Carbon Market Next Year, Group Says
California, the most populous U.S. state, will join two Canadian provinces in setting up a market for carbon dioxide pollution next year, according to a group that helped design the program.
“California, British Columbia and Quebec will start in 2012,” the Western Climate Initiative said in a statement on the status of the regional cap-and-trade program. Ontario and Manitoba in Canada “will join after the program starts,” according to the statement.
The Western Climate Initiative aims to cut carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases 15 percent by 2020. The regional program is similar to the national cap-and-trade system President Barack Obama failed to get through Congress last year.
British Columbia passed the necessary laws to take part in the carbon-trading program next year. The government hasn’t made a final decision about when it will join, Colin Grewar, a spokesman for the province’s Ministry of Environment, said in an e-mail. “The timing remains subject to provincial government decision,” he said.
California’s cap-and-trade regulations, approved by the state in December, may be delayed after a judge ordered last month that alternatives, such as a carbon tax, be fully studied.
The California Air Resources Board failed to analyze alternatives that might be better than a cap-and-trade program, Judge Ernest Goldsmith said in a March 18 ruling. The Center on Race, Poverty & the Environment and other advocacy organizations sued the board, arguing its climate-change rules don’t do enough to clean up poor, polluted neighborhoods.
The board is waiting to see what specific actions Goldsmith will order, Stanley Young, a spokesman for the environmental agency, said in an e-mail.
“We are hopeful that this case can be resolved expeditiously and that we will hit our target start date of January,” Young said.
Alegria De La Cruz, the center’s legal director, said it’s possible the agency “could pull out all the stops and meet their deadline.” Environmental justice groups doubt a court- ordered study of alternatives will support a cap-and-trade program for California.
“We don’t believe the environmentally superior alternative is a trading program,” De La Cruz said.
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