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Environment

Northeast states agree on plan to reduce CO2

August 21, 2006 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 84, ISSUE 34

Seven northeastern states have agreed on a regional cap-and-trade program to reduce power plant emissions of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas linked to global warming. The states agreed in December to create a mandatory program to curb emissions, and a model set of regulations released last week established the reduction targets. Beginning in 2009, emissions of CO2 from power plants in the region would be capped at 121 million tons annually until 2015. The states would then begin reducing emissions incrementally over a four-year period to achieve a 10% reduction by 2019. Draft regulations to implement the program will be introduced in Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, and Vermont. Maryland plans to join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative by June 2007. "This is a watershed moment in the fight against global warming," says Jim Marston of Environmental Defense. "Now it's time for federal legislators to take their heads out of the sand and pass legislation to cut global warming pollution." New York Gov. George E. Pataki initiated the RGGI process in 2003 in a bid to spur federal action on climate change. The Bush Administration has refused to participate in the Kyoto protocol, an international treaty to reduce carbon emissions, contending that it would damage the U.S. economy.

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