Another $329.7 million spent on California carbon permits

Published: Monday, Feb. 24, 2014 - 9:22 pm

California’s latest carbon-permit auction raised $329.7 million, state officials announced Monday.

In the sixth state-run carbon auction since California’s cap-and-trade market system began in 2012, industrial firms and others bought emissions allowances that can be used this year and in 2017. The 2014 allowances sold for $11.34 per ton, while the 2017 permits went for $11.38.

All told, California firms have now spent a combined $1.54 billion for the right to emit greenhouse gases since the program began, said David Clegern of the California Air Resources Board. The agency runs the auctions and oversees the state’s climate-change programs.

The state’s carbon program, a centerpiece of California’s 2006 global-warming law, has been controversial from the start. The California Chamber of Commerce last week announced it would ask an appeals court to knock down the state-run auctions, saying the sales represent an unconstitutional tax. The chamber’s lawsuit was dismissed at the lower-court level.

Meanwhile, state Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg said he will propose a 15 cents-a-gallon “carbon tax” on fuel purchases. The tax would serve as an alternative to having oil refiners start participating in the cap-and-trade market as scheduled next year. The Steinberg tax would grow to 43 cents a gallon by 2030. Steinberg said the tax would provide more certainty than folding the fuel industry into the cap-and-trade program, in which the price of carbon can fluctuate.

Call The Bee’s Dale Kasler, (916) 321-1066. Follow him on Twitter @dakasler.

Read more articles by Dale Kasler

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