The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative

Designed by Livia Polise using NOAA and USGS data.

Virginia should join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. This is a straightforward agreement among northeastern states to create a market for carbon emissions.  Member states cap generating plant emissions and issue permits to emit a defined amount of carbon dioxide.  Firms can trade these permits, which allows more efficient firms to profit on that efficiency.  This creates incentives to reduce emissions so firms have excess permits they can sell at a profit.  From Wikipedia:

The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI, pronounced ‘Reggie’) is the first mandatory market based program in the United States to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. RGGI is a cooperative effort among the states of Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont to cap and reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from the power sector. RGGI compliance obligations apply to fossil-fueled power plants 25MW and larger within the ten-state region.

RGGI establishes a regional cap on the amount of CO2 pollution that power plants can emit by issuing a limited number of tradable CO2 allowances. Each allowance represents an authorization for a regulated power plant to emit one short ton of CO2. Individual CO2 budget trading programs in each RGGI state together create a regional market for CO2 allowances.

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