CA fossil fuel industries will pay for emissions

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With California rolling out its cap-and-trade program today, some of the state's heaviest polluters, including fossil-fuel power plants and oil refineries, will be required to buy and sell carbon emissions permits.

To this point, fossil fuel industries have not been held accountable monetarily for the carbon they produce into the environment. This program changes that.

The market-based program sets a cap on how much carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases can be emitted, and businesses are given or required to purchase allowances, while companies that reduce emissions can sell or trade their unused allowances at auction. The program is intended to provide financial incentives to organizations that reduce emissions through greater use of energy efficiency, renewable energy and alternative technologies. 

A price on carbon pollution can stimulate new technology development and lower global warming emissions, benefiting our economy and our environment, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists.

"If successful, California's cap-and-trade program will serve as a model for other states, particularly now that federal efforts to address climate change have stalled," said UCS climate economist Jasmin Ansar.

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