Can the states make a real dent in climate change?
Brad Plumer investigates:
Already, ten states in the Northeast have put their electric utilities under a cap-and-trade system known as RGGI. Eleven Western states and Canadian provinces are now laying the groundwork for their own cap-and-trade system, known as the Western Climate Initiative (WCI), which would begin in 2012 and could well expand further. Right now, there's a lot of cooperation between RGGI and WCI, Tamminen said—so that in the future they could be linked up, possibly with Europe's system, and possible with offset projects in, say, China and India. (Relatedly, Schwarzenegger is putting together an "R-20" for various subnational governments, modeled after the G-20, to get together and coordinate these sorts of regional efforts.)
Okay, but what sorts of cuts are we really talking about? The WCI, after all, includes some hefty states and provinces—California, Ontario, Washington, Arizona—but it doesn't include some of the heaviest polluters, like Alberta and Texas. Unfortunately, no one's done a full tally of the total impact on U.S. emissions—it's still too early for that. But, Tamminen notes, when you add state efforts to the hundreds of cities that have pledged to reduce their emissions, suddenly we're talking about a big swath of the United States. "Eighty percent of the country's emissions come from cities and industrial areas that are often located near those cities."
And, Tamminen adds, other states will have plenty of incentive to buy into these climate plans. For instance, some of the RGGI states have used revenue from selling carbon permits to help fill in their budget shortfalls ($100 million in New York's case)—an option that may increasingly look attractive to many governors around the country.
Posted by: JonathanTE | January 27, 2010 8:06 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: tl_houston | January 27, 2010 8:50 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: visionbrkr | January 27, 2010 9:45 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: jercary | January 27, 2010 10:45 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: sarasota1 | January 27, 2010 12:14 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: yokohlman | January 27, 2010 4:41 PM | Report abuse
The comments to this entry are closed.