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Finally, a breath of fresh air for California cap-and-trade

If all goes according to plan, something rather amazing will happen this Thursday.

The California Air Resources Board is set to consider, and probably adopt in final form, a market-based greenhouse gas emission control regulation.

I wish this weren’t such an accomplishment. I wish I were not amazed. After all, market-based environmental controls have been in place in California since 1994 and in the Great Lakes region since 1995. Greenhouse gas emissions have been regulated using market-based systems all across Europe since 2005, and in the US Northeast since 2008.

This is nothing new.

Still, the effort to get this regulation in place… and keep it there… has been nothing less than heroic. Although it’s only one of many regulations adopted to implement California’s 2006 Global Warming Solutions Act, the Cap and Trade regulation alone has served as the lightning rod for criticism and ridicule, for attacks economic and political; it has also served as the rallying point for Californians seeking to transform our energy infrastructure into one we’re proud to leave our children and which, incidentally, makes California the a powerful hub for clean energy investment, clean energy technology, and a clean energy workforce.

The debate has not been friendly. Economic woes dominate our national dialogue, and every attempt to implement change, is debated within the narrow construct of short-term financial well-being. Near-term steps to address long-term, highly inconvenient problems do not fare well in this environment.

For these reasons, I am amazed.

It’s obvious which side of this debate I’m on. And I hasten to remind everyone that TerraPass was founded on the premise that market forces can be an effective agent of change. We do not support cap and trade regulations because we sell offsets. We create and sell carbon offsets because we believe in harnessing market forces to effect change.

Let’s hope that change starts now.

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