Calif. adopts extensive "cap-and-trade" plan

LONG BEACH, CA - OCTOBER 1: The AES Corporation 495-megawatt Alamitos natural gas-fired power station stands on October 1, 2009 in Long Beach, California. The Obama administration has announced that rather than wait for Congress to act, it has authorized the Environmental Protection Agency to move forward on enacting new regulations on greenhouse gas emissions emitted from hundreds of power plants and large industrial facilities. The move could both force lawmakers to try to reach an agreement on regulating greenhouse gases and bolster US credibility as negotiators prepare for United Nations talks in Copenhagen to produce an international agreement to combat manmade climate change in December. The proposed regulations would take effect as early as 2011.
Photo by David McNew/Getty Images

SAN FRANCISCO - California has adopted the nation's most comprehensive system designed to provide a financial incentive for polluters to reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions.

The California Air Resources Board voted unanimously Thursday to adopt the final draft of its "cap-and-trade" plan.

The plan is a key part of the state's landmark 2006 global warming law, which seeks to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020.

While implementation begins in 2012, industry compliance starts in 2013, targeting power plants and other of the worst polluting facilities, with others joining in 2015.

The program will require pollution producers to buy permits that allow for a specified amount of greenhouse gases each year, declining over time. Those permits could then be bought and sold in a marketplace.