California Now First State to Charge Polluters for Greenhouse Gas Emissions

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Photo via Now Public

It no longer pays to pollute in California. The state, which passed ambitious climate change legislation in 2006 to reduce greenhouse gases by 25% by 2020, has launched a fee on its most polluting companies--15 cents for each ton of CO2 they emit. The fee is expected to bring in $63 million each year for the next 3 years, after which it will drop to 9 cents per ton. The revenue will help the state pay for the administrative costs of implementing the climate legislation, which includes a cap and trade system for the state. The cap and trade is set to go into effect in 2012.

The fee will hit 380 of California's heaviest polluting companies--those that "produce, distribute, refine or use natural gas, coal, electricity, crude or distillates," according to Green Inc. These companies alone are responsible for 85% of the state's greenhouse gas emissions.

Green Inc reports that the fee was modeled after a successful program launched in San Francisco:

The state's move comes on the heels of a similar fee passed last year by San Francisco-area pollution watchdogs. The Bay Area Air Quality Management District, a public agency that regulates air pollution in the nine counties surrounding San Francisco Bay, imposed a fee of 4.4 cents per metric ton on area businesses that emit greenhouse gases.
That fee raised $1.3 million.

The ball's rolling in California--which as long been a pioneer in green policy, from clean air standards to energy efficiency initiatives. As a climate bill draws ever closer to getting the votes it needs to pass in the US Senate, green eyes are on California while it rolls out its new emissions law--so far, so good.

More on California and Climate Action
Green Economy's a Good Economy in California
Every California House a Zero Net Energy Building?

Tags: California | Carbon Emissions | Congress | Global Warming Solutions | United States

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