Regional Climate Program Moves Ahead as Pre-emption Threat Looms
With Wall Street's turmoil as a backdrop, a fledgling mid-Atlantic regional market in carbon took an important step forward. On Sept. 25, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, or RGGI, conducted its first auction of carbon dioxide emission allowances.
RGGI is the first mandatory cap-and-trade program in the United States for CO2, the most significant greenhouse gas emitted by human activities. Through RGGI, 10 Northeastern and mid-Atlantic states (Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont) implemented a cap-and-trade program designed to cap at their 2009 levels the CO2 emissions of the states' fossil fuel fired power plants rated as greater than 25 megawatts in size. After capping the emissions, the program then lowers the cap by 2.5 percent annually for four years for an eventual reduction of 10 percent below 2009 levels by 2019.