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]