The New York Times (and everyone else) reports that California has reached a deal for a cap and trade program on carbon emissions.

California’s political leaders announced an agreement on Wednesday that imposes the most sweeping controls on carbon dioxide emissions in the nation, putting the state at the forefront of a broad campaign to curb the man-made causes of climate change despite resistance in Washington.

The deal between the Democratic-controlled Legislature and the Republican governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, calls for a 25 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions by 2020, and could establish controls on the largest industrial sectors, including utilities, oil refineries and cement plants. The state has already placed strict limits on automobile emissions, although that move is being challenged in federal court …

Although the deal in California is strongly opposed by Republicans in the Legislature and many business leaders across the state, it assures that a bill on the restrictions will be passed before the legislative session ends Thursday and will be signed by Schwarzenegger, the leaders said Wednesday.

The first major controls are scheduled to begin in 2012, with the aim of reducing the emissions to their level in 1990. The legislation allows for incentives to businesses to help reach the goals, but opponents warn that the state may be sacrificing its economic interests for a quixotic goal.

We’re likely to have lots of discussions about this in coming days, and the devil’s in the details. But as the sun comes up here in the East and my kids are pulling on my legs to make them breakfast, for the moment I’m breathing a little easier and feeling hopeful.