December 29, 2005
Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative
Although Massachusetts and Rhode Island did not sign, last week seven Northeastern states signed a memorandum of understanding pledging to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, and Vermont have agreed to cut CO2 emissions by 2.5 % annually beginning in 2015, for a total reduction of 10% below 2009 projected levels by 2019.
The states participating in the RGGI will issue allowances for each ton of CO2 emitted by power plants. Each plant producing 25 MW or more must have enough allowances to cover its individual carbon dioxide emissions and meet a specific cap placed on total emissions. Plants may sell their excess allowances to companies that need to offset higher emissions, buy allowances from the 25% of total allowances retained by the states, or use "offsets" from projects that reduce GHG emissions such as landfill methane gas recovery, reforestation, and methane capture efforts from farming or natural gas transmission facilities.
A safety valve allows states to extend compliance periods for plants if the cost of CO2 allowances reaches $10 and allows plants to use offsets in lieu of allowances for up to 20% of their emissions.
The 2009 projected emissions used to establish allowances are: New York: 64,310,805 short tons; New Jersey: 22,892,730 short tons; Connecticut: 10,695,036 short tons; New Hampshire: 8,620,460 short tons; Delaware: 7,559,787 short tons; Maine: 5,948,902 short tons; Vermont: 1,225,830 short tons.
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