Seven Northeastern states sign greenhouse-gas pact

Thumbing their noses — or whatever states have where noses should be — at the Bush administration, seven Northeastern states have committed to cut their planet-toasting carbon dioxide emissions 10 percent by the end of 2018. New York Gov. George Pataki (R) dreamed up the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and has been working since 2003 to get neighboring states on board. Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, and Vermont answered the call, while Massachusetts and Rhode Island dropped out of negotiations. A key tool for achieving reductions will be a cap-and-trade system for large fossil-fueled power plants. Supporters of the initiative laud its environmental benefits and hope it will push the feds to implement similar policies nationwide. Detractors claim it will raise electricity costs and make only a negligible difference in the fight against global warming — and hey, if you can only take baby steps, why step at all?