The California Air Resources Board February 28 cleared the way for companies to gain greenhouse gas reduction credits for actions taken before emissions reduction rules are adopted under the state\u2019s climate protection law, AB 32. However, how much credit the state will extend toward meeting the later regulatory requirements remains in doubt. The policy is intended to encourage companies to voluntarily cut greenhouse gas emissions ahead of regulatory requirements under the law, which are supposed to take effect in 2012, said Kevin Kennedy, Air Board climate change program evaluation branch supervisor. Air Board chair Mary Nichols said that the actual amount of regulatory credit the agency would grant for such early actions would not be decided until regulators decide how to allocate emission rights. Another key factor is expected to be the Air Board\u2019s decision about the scope of any carbon market. Despite the remaining uncertainty, however, utilities lauded the action, saying it provided a green light to move ahead with plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions. \u201cWe\u2019re very pleased,\u201d said Mike Hertel, Southern California Edison environmental affairs manager. Edison, he said, has devised a plan to voluntarily cut carbon dioxide emissions by 2.5 million metric tons. It plans to present it to the Air Board for approval under the voluntary early action policy. Once approved, he said, Edison plans to \u201cgo back to the California Public Utilities Commission to get the ratepayer dollars\u201d to fund the work. Edison plans to cut emissions by funding deployment of electric forklifts, plug-in hybrid tug boats, and other zero or low emissions equipment, he explained. Sempra Energy utilities also have devised a plan to cut carbon emissions as soon as possible, said Taylor Miller, the company\u2019s senior environmental counsel. Under the policy, companies can submit plans to the Air Board for approval. The agency\u2019s staff then is to review those plans to verify that the emission reductions they promise are real, permanent, quantifiable, verifiable, enforceable, and additional. Additional means that they go above and beyond what would be required under any regulation or plan for carrying out AB 32. In other action, the Air Board received its Economic and Technology Advancement Committee\u2019s report. The report recommends that the agency set up a carbon trust fund financed with the proceeds of an auction of greenhouse gas emission rights. The money would be used to fund green technologies. Environmental groups endorsed the plan. However, utilities said report appeared to engage in picking \u201ctechnological winners and losers,\u201d a role they said should be left to the market instead.