California judge puts carbon market on hold

LOS ANGELES Fri May 20, 2011 6:09pm EDT

A parking structure at the University of California San Diego uses innovative ''solar trees'' to collect renewable energy from the Sun February 8, 2011. REUTERS/Mike Blake

A parking structure at the University of California San Diego uses innovative ''solar trees'' to collect renewable energy from the Sun February 8, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Mike Blake

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A California judge ruled on Friday that state air regulators must halt the implementation of a cap-and-trade scheme until they examine alternatives to emissions trading to meet the state's aggressive greenhouse gas reduction targets.

San Francisco Superior Court Judge Ernest Goldsmith said in a decision that the California Air Resources Board (ARB) should "take no action" to implement its cap-and-trade plans until it completes an analysis of other greenhouse gas reduction policy alternatives.

Last month, Judge Goldsmith said the ARB, the agency designing the state's cap-and-trade scheme, failed to adequately study alternatives to creating a carbon market.

The regulatory agency had been sued by an environmental justice group called the Association for Irritated Residents, who charged that the future greenhouse gas market could cut air quality in some parts of the state while others benefited.

"This includes any further rulemaking and implementation of cap and trade," the judge wrote in his decision.

(Reporting by Valerie Volcovici in Washington; Editing by Richard Chang)

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