Efforts by U.S. states in the northeast to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are falling short, in part due to unsympathetic federal policies. While they see plenty of room for more aggressive efforts, even the region’s most vocal environmental critics acknowledge that northeastern states have taken unprecedented steps to reduce emissions. The biggest initiative has been establishing carbon-dioxide trading programs, which has turned out to be a torturously complex process. All of the region’s efforts, however, are hampered by a federal government that refuses to raise fuel-efficiency standards for vehicles or set strict limits on CO2 emissions from power plants. Currently, the region is falling short of its goal to reduce emissions 12 percent by 2010; in fact, emissions are rising. Still, officials and enviros hope that the region’s efforts can be a model that inspires broader change. “Showing a region this large can make reductions sends a critically important message out to the country and the world,” said Cindy Luppi of Clean Water Action.