California adopts extensive 'cap-and-trade' plan

By JASON DEAREN | October 23, 2011 | 6:50 PM EDT

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — 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.