Massachusetts to join Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative after all

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick (D), reversing a decision by predecessor Mitt Romney (R), has announced that his state will join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a now eight-state pact that seeks to cut Northeast emissions beginning in 2009. “We want everyone to know that Massachusetts will not stand on the sidelines,” said Patrick, who thinks RGGI — which will use a cap-and-trade system to cut emissions 10 percent from current levels by 2019 — can generate up to $125 million a year to spend on conservation and renewable energy. Romney and fellow critics had worried that the pact would mean price hikes with no benefits. Greens applauded the about-face: “What a breath of fresh air to switch from our previous governor, who walked away from the climate crisis altogether,” said Clean Water Action’s Brian Thurber. With the region’s leading energy-sucker now on board and Maryland and D.C. expected to join this year, Rhode Island remains the only holdout. They have emissions there? Aw, cute.