States move to tackle global warming

While Congress and the Administration continue to disagree on a national plan to limit greenhouse gas emissions, more states have taken the historic step of doing it themselves.

Ten Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic states (Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont) that are part of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), took the unique first step forward by holding an online carbon auction.

The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) is the first binding cap-and-trade program in the U.S. to limit greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming.

On Sept. 25th, the states auctioned carbon allowances to power plants, generating over $35 million.

Carbon allowances are essentially permits that allow a utility to emit one ton of carbon dioxide for each permit they hold. RGGI auctions nearly all of the allowances and will spend portions of the auction revenue on programs that help homeowners, businesses, and others.

Over the life of the initiative the number of allowances will be reduced - decreasing the amount of heat-trapping pollution emitted.

The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) is the first binding cap-and-trade program in the U.S. to limit greenhouse gas emissions.

“We applaud this precedent-setting plan to create the first mandatory, market-based CO2 emissions reduction program in the United States,” said David Moulton, Director of Climate Change Policy for The Wilderness Society. “We believe this is a better approach than other plans that auction only a very small number of the total allowances,” Moulton said.

RGGI will also encourage development of new technologies and green jobs essential to a sustainable economy in the years to come. At a time when Congress and the Administration have repeatedly failed to agree on a national plan to limit emmissions of heat-trapping pollution, these states have shown their leadership by participating in the historic RGGI agreement.

As The Wilderness Society continues to spearhead efforts for more federal global warming legislation, we will remain engaged in with RGGI as an important incubator for practices and policies that can be expanded to practices that tackle heat trapping pollution at the national level.

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