Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative


Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative

Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI, or ReGGIe) is a regional initiative by states in the Northeastern United States region to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The RGGI is designing a cap and trade program for greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.

Ten states currently participate in the initiative. Pennsylvania, which is a major coal producer and manufacturing state, only participates as an observer.

History

In 2003 George Pataki, then Governor of New York, sent a letter to the governors of Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic states seeking "to develop a strategy that will help the region lead the nation in the effort to fight global climate change." [Cite press release |publisher=New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) |title=DEC Announces Final Model Rule to Help States Implement RGGI |date=August 15, 2006 |url=http://www.dec.ny.gov/press/12440.html |accessdate=2007-09-30]

In August 2005, the RGGI staff working group proposed an emissions reduction program that would start in 2009 and lead to a stabilization of emissions at current levels (an average of 2002-2004 levels) by 2015. This would be followed by a 10% reduction in emissions between 2015 and 2020. The proposal would also allow participants to purchase offsets to meet 50% of their emission reductions.

As of December 20, 2005, seven Northeastern US states were involved in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. Massachusetts and Rhode Island dropped out at the last minute; Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney objected to a lack of opt-out provisions if energy prices exceeded a certain threshold. [cite news | date=2007-01-19 | url=http://www.wbur.org/news/2007/63910_20070119.asp | title=Reaction to RGGI | work=WBUR | accessdate=2007-01-24] The seven states still involved (Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine) signed a "Memorandum of Understanding" committing themselves to move forward with the program. Special provisions were made in that document for Massachusetts and Rhode Island to join the effort at any time prior to January 1, 2008.

Massachusetts rejoined on January 18, 2007, on the order of newly elected Governor Deval Patrick. [cite news | date=2007-01-19 | url=http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2007/01/19/mass_power_plants_to_pay_emissions_penalties/ | title=Mass. power plants to pay emissions penalties | work=Boston Globe | accessdate=2007-01-24]

Rhode Island rejoined on January 30, 2007. Governor Donald L. Carcieri used his State of the State address to make the announcement. While he reiterated his concern about the impact on energy costs, he said that "I have been assured that those costs can be offset by credits we will receive from other states." [cite speech | title=2007 State of the State Address | author=Governor Donald L. Carcieri | first=Donald L. | last = Carcieri | date=2007-01-30 | location= Rhode Island General Assembly | url=http://www.governor.state.ri.us/documents/statemessage07.pdf | accessdate=2007-09-30]

On April 20, 2007, Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley signed an agreement to join, making Maryland the 10th state to join the initiative [Cite press release |publisher=Office of the Governor (MD) |title=Governor Martin O’Malley Signs Greenhouse Gas Agreement, Climate Change Executive Order |date=2007-04-20 |url=http://www.gov.state.md.us/pressreleases/070420.html |accessdate=2007-09-30] .

New Hampshire joined on June 12, 2008, when Gov. John Lynch signed a law implementing RGGI. [cite news | date=2008-06-12 | url=http://www.boston.com/news/local/new_hampshire/articles/2008/06/11/nh_governor_signs_global_warming_initiative_into_law/ | title=NH governor signs global warming initiative | work=Boston Globe | accessdate=2008-06-12]

Current membership

* Participating states: Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maryland, Rhode Island
* Observer states and regions: Pennsylvania, District of Columbia, Québec, Eastern Canadian Provinces [ [http://www.rggi.org/states.htm Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) - Participating States ] ] .

Implementation

RGGI is implementing a cap and trade system for CO2 emissions from power plants in the member states. Emission permits will be auctioned beginning in September 2008, and the first three-year compliance period will begin on January 1, 2009. Proceeds will be used to promote energy conservation and renewable energy. [http://www.rggi.org/docs/20080711news_release.pdf] The system affects fossil fuel power plants with 25 MW or greater generating capacity. http://www.rggi.org/docs/program_summary_10_07.pdf]

Climate Change Action Plan

A parallel effort to reduce emissions in the Northeast is the New England Governors/Eastern Canadian Premiers Climate Change Action Plan, which calls for a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions to 10% below 1990 levels by 2020. For comparison: the EU aims to reduce emissions to 20% below 1990 levels by 2020.

In addition, the Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management (NESCAUM) is building a Regional Greenhouse Gas Registry (RGGR) to help track emissions in the region. This effort is similar to that of the California Climate Action Registry.

Carbon auction

RGGI sold carbon credits on Thursday September 25, 2008 in the first of a series of quarterly online auctions. The final price was $3.07 per ton of carbon dioxide. It was the largest carbon auction ever. [http://www.portfolio.com/views/blogs/market-movers/2008/10/07/cap-and-trade-in-the-us] The next auction is December 17, 2008. [http://www.rggi.org/docs/rggi_press_9_29_2008.pdf]

ee also

* Climate Stewardship Bill
* The Climate Registry
* Western Regional Climate Action Initiative
* Midwestern Greenhouse Gas Reduction Accord
* Climate Change Action Plan 2001

External links

* [http://www.rggi.org/ Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative official website]
* BBC News: [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/4180426.stm US states plan to cut emissions]
* [http://www.negc.org/documents/NEG-ECP%20CCAP.PDF New England Governors/Eastern Canadian Premiers Climate Change Action Plan]
* Pew Center on Global Climate Change: [http://www.pewclimate.org/what_s_being_done/in_the_states/regional.cfm Summary of regional greenhouse gas initiatives]
* [http://www.rggr.us/ Regional Greenhouse Gas Registry]
* [http://www.climateregistry.org/ California Climate Action Registry]
* [http://www.clf.org/programs/cases.asp?id=341/ RGGI information at website of Conservation Law Foundation]

References


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