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Green groups have called on New York’s new governor to expand RGGI and reset its cap.
A coalition of the state’s leading environmental groups released Thursday an environmental “to-do” list for new Governor Andrew Cuomo and the state legislature.
Among its top asks for 2011 was for Cuomo to direct the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to expand the northeast’s Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) to stationary sources outside the electricity sector.
“To strengthen the regional climate effort, New York should require facilities that annually emit more than 25,000 metric tons of CO2 to comply with programme provisions,” they wrote.
These sources, which would include cement plants and manufacturing facilities, will already be required to report their greenhouse gas emissions to federal regulators under the Clean Air Act, they added.
Expanding beyond the electric sector would also enable RGGI to align its programme with one being developed in the west – the Western Climate Initiative.
New York played a leading role in developing the regional, 10-state cap-and-trade system, which is the first mandatory cap-and-trade scheme to reduce carbon in the US.
While the scheme has been praised for operating successful quarterly auctions, it has been criticised for being long on allowances due to states setting their caps too high.
RGGI’s 10 states set a cap for the programme’s first phase – 2009-2014 – of 188 million short tons, but emitted 122 million short tons in 2009, according to New York state officials.
The environmental groups said the programme is now in need of a “tune up” to recalibrate the cap, which was set incorrectly when RGGI was negotiated in 2006.
“If nothing is done to correct the cap so that it reflects actual 2009 emissions, the RGGI may not reduce pollution levels by 10 per cent by 2008,” they wrote.
Since RGGI is the “lynchpin” in New York’s strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the state needs to take the lead in the region and improve the programme, they said.
Over a dozen prominent environmental groups, including the American Lung Association and the Environmental Defense Fund, endorsed the recommendations.
By Valerie Volcovici – email@example.com
Sceptre Group Limited is a specialist investment firm focused in low carbon financial investments such as sustainable biofuel plantations, agricultural farmland and green technologies. For more information on Biofuel Investments, please visit Sceptre Group’s website at www.sceptreinternational.com.