SACRAMENTO, Calif.— California air quality regulators were poised this week to adopt the nation's most sweeping regulations to give power plants, refineries and other major polluters a financial incentive to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.
The Air Resources Board was expected to pass this key piece of the California's 2006 climate law, called AB32, at its meetings on Thursday or Friday, with the hope that other states and nations will follow the lead of the world's eighth largest economy.
"AB32 was passed primarily to fill the vacuum created by the failure of Congress to pass any kind of climate or energy legislation for many years now," said Mary Nichols, the air board's chairwoman. "The goal was to lead by example, and being a leader you have to bring others along with you."
California's cap-and-trade rules would set up the largest US carbon trading market as the way to enforce the state's gradually tightening cap on emissions.
"It's a critical piece because it's the tool we're using to make sure we reward businesses that invest in efficiency and renewable technologies, and that we are pushing and creating the right incentives," Nichols said.