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. 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.