States Continue to Go It Alone on Cap & Trade -- But For How Much Longer?

The demise of the climate bill in the U.S. Senate now leaves the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (“RGGI”) and the Western Climate Initiative (“WCI”) as the only cap-and-trade programs in the U.S. RGGI, which covers 10 northeastern and mid-Atlantic states, holds its ninth auction of emissions allowances in September; meanwhile the WCI, made up of seven U.S. states and four Canadian provinces, has just released a design document for its program, the centerpiece of which is cap-and-trade.

In the on-going vacuum created by the lack of federal legislation to put a price on carbon, the states continue to be where most of the action is. But all is not necessarily well at the state level. Prices for RGGI’s emissions allowances have dropped substantially from a year ago and the viability of WCI’s ambitious design could hang on the outcome of this November’s vote in California to suspend the state’s climate law.

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