Regional Climate Initiatives Release White Paper

The three regional climate initiatives in North America–the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), the Midwestern GHG Reduction
Accord (the Accord), and the Western Climate Initiative (WCI)–have released a white paper to share experiences in the design and implementation of regional
cap-and-trade programs.

The paper is meant to inform federal decision making on climate change policy and
explore the potential for further collaboration among the three regional programs in the

The paper, titled
“Ensuring Offset Quality: Design and Implementation Criteria for a High-Quality Offset
Program,” outlines the common vision shared by the
three regional initiatives regarding the key design and implementation criteria necessary
to establish a high-quality offset program. That vision includes a recognition of the
potential value of offsets and a commitment to ensuring their integrity.

All three regional programs incorporate an offset component in order to reduce
compliance costs and increase compliance flexibility for sources covered by the
programs. Each regional initiative is committed to preserving the integrity of its program
by requiring that emissions reductions achieved through offset projects are real,
additional, verifiable, permanent, and enforceable.

In addition, the regional initiatives
agree that any offset program should be based on uniform standards, not a case-by-
case review of specific projects. Offset programs must also have adequate
transparency, credible verification, and administrative flexibility.

By collaborating
on this paper, the participating jurisdictions are moving closer to uniformity among their
own programs and aim to inform future federal programs in the United States and
Canada. A potential benefit of uniformity is that purchasers of offsets will have greater
confidence in the value of the offset, and suppliers will find it easier to meet a consistent
set of standards. Another potential benefit is that jurisdictions could accept offsets
issued by other jurisdictions, which would enhance the market for offsets.

Together, these 23 US States and 4 Canadian Provinces represented in these initiaitves account for
approximately one-half of the US population, over one-third of US
greenhouse gas
emissions, over three-quarters of the Canadian population and one-half
of Canadian
greenhouse gas emissions.

The climate bill proposed in the US Senate last week suggests that auctions for federal cap-and-trade initiatives could take place under the three existing regional programs.

The paper is available at the link below.

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