The regional cap-and-trade program implemented in the Northeast could get a good deal stricter in coming years, according to the State House News Service.
The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative is a plan implemented by 10 states in the northeastern corner of the U.S., including all of New England, New York, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland. The program seeks to encourage reductions in greenhouse gas emissions by requiring a strict emissions limit for the whole region.
However, changes in the energy market, particularly the adoption of cleaner-burning natural gas, have led a decline in overall carbon emissions. Through the first three-year regulatory compliance period, the region produced only 388 tons of carbon emissions, less than 70 percent of the agreed upon limit.
This has led a dramatic surplus of emissions credits, some of which have been stockpiled for future use.
Now, however, the states involved have agreed to retire millions of unsold credits, and are moving toward a tighter emissions cap that would require greater efforts from companies to meet.
The New York Times reports, however, that a study released last November nevertheless supported the scheme, illustrating that the cap-and-trade program has proven economically beneficial for the region.