(December 3, 2010) New York made $16.9 million in the latest auction of carbon dioxide credits, held this week under the cap-and-trade system known as Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. But it remains to be seen whether the money will go to the energy efficiency programs it is intended for.
Gov. David A. Paterson set a precedent last year when he took $90 million from the money generated by the initiative to deal with a projected state budget deficit of nearly $50 billion through March 2013. New York has so far collected $282 million from RGGI (pronounced “reggie”), the most of any of the 10 participating Northeastern and mid-Atlantic states.
State officials said that dipping into the environmental pool of money was a necessity in a moment of crisis and was not expected to happen again. In a statement, officials with the New York Department of Environmental Conservation said Friday that more than 80 percent of the auction proceeds were being invested in strategic energy programs like “EmPower New York,” which helps households do energy audits and save on their energy bills by upgrading equipment and improving insulation, among other steps.
“RGGI continues to demonstrate we can take market-based actions to limit our carbon footprint and lay the groundwork for a clean energy economy,” said Peter Iwanowicz, the department’s acting commissioner.
Under the program, the 10 states agreed to cap carbon dioxide emissions from electric power plants and charge the plants for the emissions they produce. As an incentive for the plants to pollute less, the states allow those that cut their emissions below the cap level to sell or trade their excess carbon allowances through online auctions four times a year.
Mireya Navarro, The New York Times, December 3, 2010
Categories: Carbon Credit Watch