The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a 10-state program that has been testing a carbon dioxide cap-and-trade system, may be in trouble, with New Jersey planning to drop out and other states considering doing the same.
But a new study says the program has saved money for consumers, stimulated job growth and kept money in local economies in the states that signed up.
Power plant owners paid in $912 million over the period studied, from mid-2008 through September. Some of it was spent on projects like improving energy efficiency, some went to unrelated environmental purposes like restoring wetlands and some simply went into general use by the states.
...Popular sentiment now seems to be running against carbon controls.
Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey announced in May that he would pull his state out of the 10-state compact by the end of this year. Carbon allowances were sold every three months, he said, but the allowances “were never expensive enough to change behavior as they were intended to.”
When the program was envisioned, the economy was strong and experts expected that the right to emit a ton of carbon dioxide would sell for $20 to $30, but it never got above the low single-digits.
[Sept 2011] Of the 42,189,685 current control-period (2009-2011) CO2 allowances offered for sale by the 10 participating states, 7,487,000 (17.75%) were sold. The auction clearing price was $1.89 per allowance, the minimum reserve price for the auction.