California leads the way again, by @DavidOAtkins

California leads the way again, this time on climate

by David Atkins

Stories like this make me proud to live in California.

Such audits will be crucial as California embarks on its grand experiment in reining in climate change. On Jan. 1, it will become the first state in the nation to charge industries across the economy for the greenhouse gases they emit. Under the system, known as “cap and trade,” the state will set an overall ceiling on those emissions and assign allowable emission amounts for individual polluters. A portion of these so-called allowances will be allocated to utilities, manufacturers and others; the remainder will be auctioned off.

Over time, the number of allowances issued by the state will be reduced, which should force a reduction in emissions.

To obtain the allowances needed to account for their emissions, companies can buy them at auction or on the carbon market. They can secure offset credits, as they are known, either by buying leftover allowances from emitters that have met their targets or by purchasing them from projects that remove carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases from the atmosphere, like the woods where Mr. Hrubes was working.
Whether Mitt Romney wins or loses the presidency, California is going to be a leader on climate change, universal healthcare and much else besides. Win or lose, the final electoral map in the U.S. will once again very much resemble the civil war map. And as usual, it will be the blue states dragging everyone else along against their will, with California very much in the lead.