First Auction Today for RGGI Cap-and-Trade

Sheryl CanterThe 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.

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  1. quentinp
    Posted September 25, 2008 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    This IS great news. The European market seems to have worked extremely well, and discovered a lot of important factors in running such a market. most of all it seems to show just how effective a market is. I have a concern that the caps in RGGI are initially too high (they are an INCREASE on recent emissions) – and therefore the price of a ton of carbon may fall quickly to zero.

    Assuming that it does have some value is it possible for a retail purchaser to buy (or even sell) in the market? I do offsets through My Climate at the moment, but it would be nice to by buying pollution credits and knowing that this was a ton that was no longer available to the market. The Chicago Climate Exchange is for very large contracts and it seems that much of the CDM emissions that it trades in are poorly accounted for – ie not additional.

  2. Posted September 25, 2008 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

    As I understand it, RGGI is for power companies. You can visit to confirm. If you want to buy offsets, check out our list of good ones:

  3. mikes
    Posted September 28, 2008 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    Here is a look at our green future playing out the the South:

  4. mikes
    Posted September 30, 2008 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

    Here is another article regarding our ‘green’ future: