• 10.13.09

California Polluters Beware: You Will Be Charged for Emitting CO2

Sweeping climate change legislation may have to wait until December’s United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, but California is getting a head start on cutting down corporate emissions with the first statewide fee for greenhouse gas polluters.

Power Plant Emissions

The fee is relatively small–15 cents per metric ton of CO2, with an expected drop to 9 cents in 2014–but the point isn’t to punish polluters, even though large companies like Pacific Gas & Electric could see fees in the millions. California just wants to finance its global warming bill without passing on charges to consumers.


Small fees will, however, hit small business owners. A grocery store, for example, might get charged $120 per year, while a restaurant could incur fees of $17 per year. Homeowners will see an even more negligible increase in fees, with expected charges of 77 cents per year in electricity and 80 cents for fuel.

Regardless of the size of the fees, California’s program can keep emissions down until the state’s cap-and-trade program goes into effect in 2012. The program will also act as a guidepost for other cities and states considering similar programs. That group of locales may grow after December’s Copenhagen conference.

[Via The New York Times]

About the author

Ariel Schwartz is a Senior Editor at Co.Exist. She has contributed to SF Weekly, Popular Science, Inhabitat, Greenbiz, NBC Bay Area, GOOD Magazine and more.