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The state of California's clean air agency adopted the nation's first-ever state-level cap-and-trade program after a tense hearing Thursday. Through the California Air Resources Board first passed the program in December, "the board, which normally allows its staff to finalize details, took the unusual step of personally tying up the loose ends of the nation's only comprehensive limit on greenhouse gases," the San Francisco Chronicle reports. "The complex market system for the first time puts a price on heat-trapping pollution by allowing California's dirtiest industries to trade carbon credits. The rules have been years in the making, overcoming legal challenges and an aggressive oil industry-sponsored ballot initiative," the Los Angeles Times reports. And the lobbying element was on hand for the passage of the program, as described by the Times:

The air board met in Sacramento for more than eight hours in a packed hearing room. Board members listened to sometimes scathing comments from union workers fearful of losing their jobs and a parade of industry representatives who likewise characterized the regulations as anti-business. Other speakers called the proposal historic and groundbreaking.

California's cap-and-trade program, which will be the second largest in the world after the European Union's, is part of a broader state law "that mandates a reduction in carbon pollution to 1990 levels by 2020," according to the Times.

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