New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has announced that the state will pull out of the region’s Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). New Jersey’s departure from RGGI requires an administrative change in regulations but no approval by the State Legislature. Governor Christie called the program "gimmicky" and was doing nothing to solve the problem. Christie acknowledges the effects humans are having on climate change. According to Governor Christie:
"This program is not effective in reducing greenhouse gases and is unlikely to be in the future. The whole system is not working as it was intended to work. It’s a failure."The goal of the initiative is to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants across 10 Northeast and mid-Atlantic states from Maine to Maryland by 10 percent in the next seven years. It’s the first cap-and-trade program of its kind in the United States, and is considered a trial run for a possible nationwide program in the future. Under RGGI, power plant operators buy credits at quarterly auctions for the carbon dioxide they emit.
The Center is registered in the RGGI cap-and-trade program.
Proceeds are then to be used to pay for renewable energy initiatives. The program had raised more than $860 million through March. In New Jersey, the program has paid out $29.6 million for 12 large-scale energy efficiency and renewable energy projects, according to RGGI Inc., the nonprofit that oversees the initiative. RGGI Inc. said in a statement that the planned auction for June 8 will continue as scheduled.
Several states, including New Jersey, have raided RGGI proceeds recently to fill budget gaps. Christie took $65.2 million from the state’s Global Warming Solutions Fund to balance the current budget.
As of last August, participating states had invested 63 percent of RGGI auction proceeds in programs to improve energy efficiency and accelerate the use of renewable energy technologies. The investments are intended to help reduce greenhouse gases. (NJ. com, 5/26/2011)