Virginia joins the cap-and-trade club
It’s Monday, July 13, and Virginia is the southernmost state to join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.
Governor Ralph Northam of Virginia is leading the way on climate change policy in the South. Northam announced last week that Virginia will become the southernmost state to enter the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a cap-and-trade agreement among 10 Northeastern and mid-Atlantic states. RGGI limits carbon emissions from electricity generation by setting a regional emissions cap that power plants can meet by reducing their emissions or by purchasing emissions allowances.
“As the southernmost state to join RGGI, Virginia is sending a powerful signal that our Commonwealth is committed to fighting climate change and securing a clean energy future,” Northam said in a statement following the announcement.
Northam has been attempting to bring Virginia into the RGGI fold since he took office in 2016, but the formerly Republican-controlled Virginia legislature blocked his past efforts. In November of last year, Virginia voters flipped both houses of the state legislature blue for the first time in two decades, clearing the way for Northam’s climate plans. Since the election, Northam has also been able to push through the Virginia Clean Energy Economy act, setting a 100 percent clean energy standard for Virginia’s utility companies, a first in the South.
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