UPDATE 1-California gives green light to carbon trade

Fri Dec 17, 2010 3:39am GMT

* California will be No. 2 carbon market after Europe

* Trade to start in 2012

* Program will expand in 2015 to include transport fuels

* Point Carbon forecasts nearly $10 bln market in 2016 (Adds byline, hearing details)

By Peter Henderson

SACRAMENTO, Dec 16 (Reuters) - California on Thursday approved rules for a multibillion-dollar carbon market, in what proponents hope and detractors fear will be a turning point for the United States toward building a national program to address global warming.

After the U.S. Congress failed to pass a climate change law last year, California is the vanguard of the nation's effort to address global warming and its bid to build alternative energy and related industries.

California has mandated that a third of its electricity come from renewable sources like solar and wind. It is also encouraging "low carbon" auto fuels, like some biofuels and natural gas, and on Thursday approved rules for the carbon market.

"This is what makes us the leader," Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who signed the state's climate change law in 2006 and helped convince voters to crush a ballot box challenge to it last month, told regulators.   Continued...

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