From the “pay and your sins shall be forgiven” department…
FROM KTVU-TV in Oakland:
Officials Approve Controversial Greenhouse Gas Tax
SAN FRANCISCO — Air pollution regulators in the San Francisco Bay area voted overwhelmingly Wednesday to approve new rules that impose fees on businesses for emitting greenhouse gasses.
The Bay Area Air Quality Management District’s board of directors voted 15-1 to charge companies 4.4 cents per ton of carbon dioxide they emit, an agency spokeswoman said.
Experts say the fees, which cover nine counties in the Bay Area, are the first of their kind in the country. The new rules are set to take effect July 1.
The modest fee probably won’t be enough to force companies to reduce their emissions, but backers say it sets an important precedent in combating climate change and could serve as a model for regional air districts nationwide.
“It doesn’t solve global warming, but it gets us thinking in the right terms,” said Daniel Kammen, a renewable energy expert at the University of California, Berkeley. “It’s not enough of a cost to change behavior, but it tells us where things are headed. You have to think not just in financial terms, but in carbon terms.”
But many Bay Area businesses oppose the rules, saying they could interfere with the state’s campaign to fight global warming under a landmark law signed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2006.