News and analysis about energy in California with an eye toward renewables.

Greenhouse Gas Auction Price Holding Steady in California

The price for polluting California's air with greenhouse gases hasn't changed much | Photo: Alpha Bunny/Flickr/Creative Commons License

California's Air Resources Board (CARB) has released the results of its February auction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions allowances, and it would seem the price of polluting isn't going up by much. Permits to emit carbon dioxide and other GHGs sold for an median price of $12.56 during the February auction, down $.40 from the median bid price during the first auction in November.

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During the February 19 auction, the second since the state's greenhouse gas Cap and Trade program began, permits to allow emissions of nearly 13 million tons of CO2 in 2013 were sold; with the 2013 allowances sold in November, that comes out to over 36 million tons of CO2 or its equivalent in other greenhouse gases.

Authorized under the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (AB32), CARB's emissions allowances auction is intended to provide an incentive for large emitters of greenhouse gases to reduce their emissions. By forcing polluters to buy permits in order to emit GHGs, AB32 creates a market in which owners of unused allowances can sell them to companies that haven't had as much success reducing their emissions. The February 19 auction also offered 9,560,000 allowances for emissions in 2016; about half of those sold with a median bid of $11.12.

The third of CARB's quarterly auctions will be held in May.

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About the Author

Chris Clarke is a natural history writer and environmental journalist currently at work on a book about the Joshua tree. He lives in Joshua Tree.
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