Cap-and-trade programs are designed to lower emissions gradually by reducing the cap and the allowances that are available. Polluters get flexibility in cutting emissions by being able to trade allowances among themselves. The idea is to achieve the reductions at the lowest cost through market forces rather than through direct regulation.
But of the four cap-adjustment proposals under consideration, three would reset the cap above current emissions and allow pollution to rise through 2020. Only a fourth option would continue to drive down pollution by resetting the cap at 91 million tons, the current emissions level, and then reducing it by another 2.5 percent a year through 2020.
About the authors:
Peter Shattuck is director of market initiatives and Daniel L. Sosland is president at ENE an environmental research and advocacy group focused on the Northeast.
For more on this story, visit: Northeast Faces Stark Choice on Climate Pollution – NYTimes.com.