California rewards energy users with ‘climate credits’

NEWS: Bill payers will receive a welcome bank account boost this month, as state’s carbon policies start to pay off

Los Angeles, California (Pic: Justin Vidamo/Flickr)

Los Angeles, California (Pic: Justin Vidamo/Flickr)

By Ed King

California’s ambitious carbon cutting policies will start to pay off for residents of the state this month, as ‘climate credits’ of $29-40 are paid into their bank accounts.

Customers of some of California’s major energy firms will benefit from the payments, which will go to small businesses, schools, hospitals as well as individual customers.

The money comes from the state’s ‘cap-n-trade’ system, launched 15 months ago with the aim of reducing carbon emissions to 1990 levels by 2020.

“The Climate Credit is a perfect example of climate policy working for every Californian – from their wallets to the health of their communities,” said Lauren Navarro from the Washington-based Environmental Defense Fund.

Since its launch, the California Air Resources Board, which runs the state’s carbon market, has raised around $1.7 billion from six auctions of pollution permits, sold to big greenhouse gas emitters.

Of that, 40% is directed towards clean energy projects. Energy is associated with about 50% of the state’s emissions.

By 2020 California’s State Governor Edmund Brown says 33% of electricity will be from renewable energy like solar or wind.

The state’s market covers around 360 businesses throughout California, accounting for approximately 85% of the state’s emissions.

On January 1 2014 it was linked to markets in the Canadian states of British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario, and Quebec, coming under the banner of the Western Climate Initiative (WCI).

Analysts at Thomson Reuters Point Carbon believe North America’s two main markets, the Western Climate Initiative (WCI) and the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, formed of nine states on the east coast, will grow 22% this year.



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