The Conoco Phillips refinery in Rodeo, Calif. (Getty Images)
A free-market auction has established a price for pollution in California: for each metric ton of carbon dioxide emitted, businesses, utilities and industries that bought allowances last week will pay just $10.09.
The results of the first auction, announced on Monday, came as both a relief and a bit of a disappointment, although state officials put the best face of it. In a statement, Mary D. Nichols, chairwoman of the California Air Resources Board, said, the auction was “a success and an important milestone for California as a leader in the global clean-tech market.” She added, “By putting a price on carbon, we can break our unhealthy dependence on fossil fuels.”
Among traders and regulators, there was relief that all of the 23.1 million allowances covering 2013 emissions that were up for auction were sold. The number of bids exceeded the…
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