Center for Clean Air Policy Celebrates Start-up of First U.S. Market-based Carbon Trading System


Sept. 25, 2008

Contacts: Jessica Gillman | 202.350.8582
Lawrence Pacheco | 202.715.1555

Center for Clean Air Policy Celebrates Start-up of First U.S. Market-based  Carbon Trading System

Helme says linking regional trading systems is needed to reduce global emissions 

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Center for Clean Air Policy (CCAP) President Ned Helme today recognized the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) for its leadership in conducting the first auction of allowances under the nation’s first carbon trading system.  Helme noted that today’s auction is a groundbreaking moment in U.S. efforts to fight climate change and said that RGGI and other regional trading systems must be part of a globally linked cap-and-trade system to reduce harmful greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

“Today’s RGGI auction is historic and exciting. It showcases the exceptional regional efforts underway in the United States to reduce GHG emissions and address global climate change,” said Helme. “While Washington continues to debate climate policy, today, because of the leadership of ten Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states, we are seeing the idea of the nation’s first mandatory, market-based cap-and-trade system come to life.”

In 2001, at the request of former Gov. George Pataki and under Helme’s leadership, CCAP developed a comprehensive climate policy strategy for New York, which directly led to the creation of RGGI. Over the past decade, CCAP has provided its expertise on carbon markets to the European Union for the development of the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS). Also, CCAP is advising the State of California as it implements its landmark GHG reduction law, the Global Warming Solutions Act, also known as AB-32.

Helme noted that as with any new system there may be glitches with RGGI.  However, because of the urgency that global warming presents, RGGI and other regional programs must move forward so they can form the basis for a national and international climate solution.

“From this system, operators will learn how the carbon market is working and they will be able to make modifications. Equally important, however, RGGI and other regional programs, such as those in the West and Midwest can eventually be linked to the EU ETS to lay the groundwork for an economy wide, global cap-and-trade system to reduce emissions. Consequently, companies will begin including the price of carbon into their planning and we’ll have a strong international carbon market in place.”