California began auctioning permits Wednesday for greenhouse-gas emissions, launching one of the world’s most ambitious efforts to cut heat-trapping gases from industrial sources.
The California Air Resources Board said it began selling the pollution “allowances” in a closed, online auction expected to create the world’s second-largest marketplace for carbon emissions.
Under the program, the state sets a limit, or cap, on emissions from individual polluters. Businesses are required to either cut emissions to cap levels or buy allowances through the auction from other companies for each extra ton of pollution discharged annually.
The board said the results of the auction — what price is paid for a ton of carbon, and how many companies participated — would be released Monday.
The cap-and-trade plan is a central piece of AB32, the state’s landmark 2006 global-warming regulations.
The auction was being closely watched nationally.