The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) is an agreement among 10 Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic states to reduce global warming pollution from power plants by means of a cap-and-trade system. In cap-and-trade, global warming pollution is limited to an agreed-upon cap that declines over time. The governing authority issues "permits" – also called "allowances" – corresponding to the cap, with one allowance equal to a ton of CO2 or its equivalent in greenhouse gases. Companies must have allowances for any global warming pollution they emit.
The RGGI auction of allowances is today, and was opened by New York Governor David Paterson. The Washington Post said in an editorial, "We hope that it serves as a reminder to Washington of what can be accomplished when vision and leadership are exercised." We agree! From EDF president Fred Krupp:
The launch of America's first carbon market is proof positive that the U.S. can and will take bold steps to combat climate change.
This post is by Sheryl Canter, an online writer and editorial manager at Environmental Defense Fund.