This becomes important to remember amid the remarkable swings of pessimism and guarded optimism we’ve seen over the past two years on the ability of individual nations to scale-up the sustainable energy agenda.
COP15 in Copenhagen 2009 was a step backwards, while COP16 in Cancun in December 2010 was a guarded step forward. On the positive side at the national level, the United Kingdom has made a very significant step by establishing a floor price and an escalation schedule for the price of carbon emissions, while Mexico and Brazil have launched ambitious energy efficiency and clean energy development plans. At the sub-national level, China is launching experimental regional carbon cap-and-trade schemes.
By popular vote, during a very down economy California upheld by a wide margin a historic greenhouse gas reduction plan (AB32, the Pavley-Nuñez Bill) in the 2011 general elections. Moving forward on January 1, 2012, California will take a major step and launch a carbon market. I worked on AB32 as it was being written, and more recently, as part of the committee that advised the state on the market rules to govern the carbon exchange.