The NYT has an update on the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), the Northeast coalition of states establishing their own carbon market. It’s promising that they seem to have learned the two key lessons of the European carbon market experience, which stumbled coming out of the gate.

The first lesson: don’t give away credits.

Participants in the United States want to avoid that problem by selling some or all of the credits at auction, with the proceeds going to state energy efficiency programs.

The second lesson: don’t allow just any old thing to qualify as reducing emissions.

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To sidestep that problem, the program here limits offsets to five categories: capture of landfill gas, curbs on sulfur hexafluoride leaks, planting of trees, reductions in methane from manure, and increased energy efficiency in buildings. Power companies can offset 3.3 percent of a plant’s total emissions from any combination of the five categories.

Like I said, promising.

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