‘Climate dividend’ approved for Calif. households

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(AP Photo)

(AP Photo)

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — California utility regulators have approved a small, twice-a-year dividend for households to help offset bill increases caused by the state’s new cap-and-trade system.

The California Public Utilities Commission on Thursday unanimously approved the “climate dividend” of an estimated $20 to $40 each, which may start in mid-2013.

The move comes about a month after the state held its first cap-and-trade auction in November, which for the first time placed a price on emissions of heat-trapping gases for the state’s biggest polluters.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the dividend is just one of the ways cap-and-trade proceeds will be spent, and that the Legislature has yet to decide how to use the remainder of the funds.

The state’s global warming law, AB32, says the money must be used to combat climate change.

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