IETA welcomes the news that lawmakers in the state of Virginia yesterday voted to approve legislation that paves the way for the state to join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, the oldest greenhouse gas cap-and-trade market in the United States.
“This is great news for the climate, coming in a year that focuses on greater ambition around the world,” said Dirk Forrister, IETA’s CEO. “It’s further evidence that market mechanisms are the most efficient and low-cost way to achieve the greenhouse gas cuts that must be made if we’re to stay in line with the Paris Agreement goals.”
The Virginia Clean Economy Act instructs the state’s Department of Environmental Quality to implement cap-and-trade rules and prepare to auction emission allowances “consistent with the RGGI programme.”
Previous legislation set the state-wide limit on emissions from power generation at 27.16 million short tons a year in 2021, a cap that will decline at 3% a year in line with the RGGI Model Rule that all participating states adopt.
“The passage of these bills opens the way for Virginia to fully join RGGI and will lead to greater liquidity and market activity,” Justin Johnson, IETA consultant said. “This is good news for utilities and consumers alike.”
The RGGI market expanded from nine to ten member states at the start of 2020, as New Jersey re-joined the market after an hiatus of eight years.