Climate law gets thumbs up

State judge allows cap-and-trade to move forward

A San Francisco Superior Court judge approved California’s plan to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions that contribute to global warming.

Judge Ernest Goldsmith, who has previously ordered the state Air Resources Board to analyze alternatives to its proposed market-based carbon cap-and-trade program, on Dec. 6 ruled the board had justified its choice of methods, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. AB32, the nation’s first comprehensive climate-change law, aims to reduce pollution to 1990 levels by 2020 by placing an annual cap on the amount of carbon polluting industries can emit beginning in 2013. If polluters do not reach their designated caps, they can sell their excess “carbon credits”; those who know they will exceed their caps can buy those excess credits, effectively charging those entities polluting the most.

Alternatives to the cap-and-trade system included numerical limits on emissions or a tax on carbon-based fuels.