California debuts landmark cap-and-trade system
CALIFORNIA PERMITTING: California has begun auctioning permits for greenhouse gas emissions, launching what is expected to be the world's second-largest carbon market.
CENTRAL PIECE: The plan is a central piece of the state's 2006 global warming law, a suite of regulations meant to dramatically reduce emissions of heat-trapping gases. Businesses must either cut emissions to cap levels or buy allowances from other companies for each extra ton of pollution discharged annually.
CHAMBER OPPOSITION: The auction occurred despite a last-minute lawsuit from the California Chamber of Commerce, which has argued the program should be invalidated as an illegal tax.