California: A National Leader in an International Trend

California made history by implementing the US’ first economy-wide cap-and-trade program, holding its first auction in November 2012. Building on that success, the Golden State recently approved linkage between California’s and Quebec’s carbon markets, with the two jurisdictions planning to hold their first joint auction in January 2014.

A new online resource from EDF and the International Emissions Trading Association, a trade association that represents businesses involved in carbon trading and climate finance, demonstrates these milestones are part of a much bigger international trend of carbon markets. California is not “going it alone,” but rather leading the country’s efforts in the global momentum to address climate change through market mechanisms.

The World’s Carbon Markets: A case study guide to emissions trading provides 18 case studies of carbon markets in operation or development around the world. In addition to California, these include the European Union, whose trading system has provided lessons for California, other US states, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), and another system in Canada, Alberta’s Specified Gas Emitters Regulation.

Currently 10 percent of the world’s population — and one third of its GDP — comes from jurisdictions implementing a cap on carbon. With the world recently passing 400 ppm of CO2, these 18 systems are more than just a footnote; they represent real progress made to address greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate climate change.

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