February 3, 2018
Even as the Trump administration dismantles climate policies at the federal level, a growing number of Democratic state governors are considering taxing or pricing carbon dioxide emissions within their own borders to tackle global warming.
New Jersey took a major step in that direction January 29, 2018 when newly elected Gov. Philip D. Murphy, a Democrat, ordered his state to rejoin a regional carbon trading program that his Republican predecessor, Chris Christie, had pulled out of in 2012 according to a New York Times report.
The program, known as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, requires power plants in participating states to buy permits for the carbon dioxide they emit. State officials often use revenue from these permit auctions for energy efficiency programs. In a so-called cap-and-trade program like this, power plants can trade the carbon permits among themselves, but the overall number of permits dwindles steadily over time. That effectively raises the cost of emitting carbon dioxide, prodding utilities to seek out cleaner sources of electricity.
“Pulling out of R.G.G.I. slowed down progress on lowering emissions and has cost New Jerseyans millions of dollars that could have been used to increase energy efficiency and improve air quality in our communities,” Mr. Murphy said. He estimated that New Jersey had foregone $279 million in permit auction revenue because of Mr. Christie’s withdrawal.
Nine other states have already imposed a price on carbon dioxide emissions from power plants through R.G.G.I.: Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont. Separately, California has its own cap-and-trade program that covers not just power plants, but factories, oil refineries and more.
More states could soon join the carbon pricing bandwagon, a trend that many observers see as partly a reaction to the Trump administration’s unwillingness to act on global warming. Last year, in Virginia, former Gov. Terry McAuliffe ordered regulators to explore a cap-and-trade program for the state’s power plants. His successor, Gov. Ralph Northam, has vowed to continue the process, although a separate proposal to link Virginia’s program with R.G.G.I. would likely need to go through the legislature.
What this means to you
New Jersey newly elected Gov. Philip D. Murphy, a Democrat, ordered his state to rejoin a regional carbon trading program that his Republican predecessor, Chris Christie, had pulled out of in 2012.
MIRATECH can help
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