Starting next January, California's cap-and-trade carbon market probably won't be operating on its own anymore.
Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday gave state regulators the green light to link California's carbon market with a similar market in the Canadian province of Quebec. The California Air Resources Board is expected to vote April 19 on whether to link with Quebec.
If the two become linked, California companies could buy carbon credits from Quebec and vice versa. "The allowances will be completely fungible," said David Clegern, spokesman for the Air Resources Board.
In addition, "this obviously is a way to have an impact (on climate change) beyond what happens in California," he said.
California regulators had hoped that their carbon market would be part of a Western states consortium. But while California's market debuted last fall, no other state has committed to running a market yet; Quebec is the only Canadian province to join in.
The market is the centerpiece of AB 32, the state's 7-year-old global warming law.
Several hundred big industrial polluters are required to reduce their carbon emissions below a certain level the "cap." If they don't, they have to buy emissions allowances to compensate.
The total cap shrinks slightly each year, which is supposed to result in a gradual reduction in emissions.
Call The Bee's Dale Kasler, (916) 321-1066. Follow him on Twitter @dakasler.