Whether characterized as stimulus for "green" technology development or altruism, California has taken a big step. Legislative leaders agreed on tough controls on carbon emissions, despite arguments that business would leave California. This reinforces recent agreements with Northeastern states and the United Kingdom to drive around the current administration's roadblock to meaningful control of global warming pollution. Officials Reach California Deal to Cut Emissions - New York Times.
The next battle may be over the oil-coal-auto lobby's efforts to block such state initiatives in the courts, with arguments that the current federal administration's "do nothing" policy should be extended to preclude real efforts to control greenhouse gas (GHG) and other forms of global warming pollution. Yet the state initiatives offer real promise for creative exploration of workable solutions, something the federal government has failed to provide of late. See, e.g. Jim Marzilli, American Prospect Online - Laboratories Of Progress (October 5, 2005).
See also: Unintended Consequences: Blair and Schwarzenegger Form Carbon Trading Coalition of the Willing (July 31, 2006).
And: Unintended Consequences: Northeastern Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) (August 2, 2006)
Another possible network to add to the California-EU carbon trading alliance could be the NGGI, a regional initiative of Northeastern and MidAtlantic states. On December 20, 2005, Governors of seven states signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). The states that agreed to sign the MOU are Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, and Vermont. The MOU outlines the program in detail, including the framework for a model rule.
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A Model Rule was proposed early in 2006 and the RGGI received comments into May. The proposed rule and comments are accessible on RGGI's website. There is also a Stakeholder Process for participation by the various state government entities and the public. The preceding links include links to documents submitted by interested parties.
According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, the NGGI agreement is expected to reduce global warming pollution from power plants by reducing emissions of carbon dioxide, a heat-trapping gas. Union of Concerned Scientists experts worked with state officials on the development of the plan. Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative
From the RGGI's self-description:
"The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, or RGGI, is a cooperative effort by Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic states to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, a greenhouse gas that causes global warming. Climate change is expected to raise sea level, change precipitation and impact other local climate conditions. Changing regional climate could alter forests, crop yields, and water supplies. It could also affect human health, animals, and many types of ecosystems.
To address this important environmental issue, the RGGI participating states will be developing a regional strategy for controlling emissions. This strategy will more effectively control greenhouse gases, which are not bound by state or national borders. Central to this initiative is the implementation of a multi-state cap-and-trade program with a market-based emissions trading system. The proposed program will require electric power generators in participating states to reduce carbon dioxide emissions."
Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI)