Cap-And-Trade News: WCI, RGGI Announcements

The two major regional cap-and-trade programs in the U.S. are moving forward.

The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) announced that its carbon dioxide (CO2) auction process has gone live, in preparation for an auction on September 25.

That auction will offer 12,565,387 CO2 allowances, including  allowances issued by Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Vermont. Any CO2 allowances purchased at this auction can be used by a regulated facility for compliance in any of the 10 northeastern RGGI states, even if that state does not offer allowances in this auction.  
Under the RGGI process, after the ten participating states have stabilized power sector carbon emissions at their capped level by 2014, the cap will be reduced each year from 2015 through 2018. 

On the other side of the continent, the Western Climate Initiative, made up of seven U.S. states and four Canadian provinces, released its Draft Design of Regional Cap-and Trade Program and Draft Essential Requirements of Mandatory Reporting.

The plan calls for a regional cap-and-trade system to go into effect in 2012, with the goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions 15% below 2005 levels by 2020. Individual states and provinces will receive a certain number of carbon allowances, and will decide on its own how to best distribute them among polluting industries.

The WCI intends to release its final design recommendations in September–after a workshop next month.

In related news, Japan will begin a trial trading scheme for CO2 in October, according to a Reuters report

And two top executives testified before a congressional panel on Monday, urging the legislators to set a federal price on carbon emissions to spur investment in efficiency and address global climate change. 

General Electric Co vice chairman John Rice said GE (NYSE: GE) supports a cap-and-trade program as the most effective method, while George David, chairman of United Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX) declined to support a specific approach, such as a straight carbon tax or a cap-and-trade program.

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