Northeast greenhouse-gas pact delayed

The long-negotiated and much-anticipated — by us climate geeks anyway — cap-and-trade climate pact among nine Northeast states, originally set to be announced this week, has been delayed. Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) has extended negotiations, saying that with recent spikes in energy prices, the plan would raise the cost of electricity too much for end users. Romney wants price caps set on what power-plant operators would have to pay to exceed their pollution allowances under the agreement. New York and New Jersey argue that customers would be fine without price caps, and that such controls would undercut incentives to move to cleaner energy. If it ever gets off the ground, the pact would be the first such regional cooperative action to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions — and a major challenge to the Bush administration’s “What, me worry?” stance on climate change.