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Environment Magazine September/October 2008


March 2007

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The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative: Taking Action in Maine

As international and domestic pressure builds on the United States to address climate change, much has been made of regional, state, and citywide plans that have arisen to address global warming. Media coverage of one such plan, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI, pronounced “Reggie”), has increased as it moves toward implementation in the seven northeastern and mid-Atlantic states that signed the original agreement and as it expands to other states. The first regional mandatory program to address climate change in the United States and encompassing an area that accounts for approximately one-fifth of the total U.S. population, RGGI’s efforts will likely have significant impact on other initiatives under way across the United States and in other countries.

But what is RGGI? What does it mean in the near term for the states that have agreed to join it? As Maine moves through the implementation process, it will provide a close-up look at balancing key issues: how to address environmental protection (the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions) while maintaining a healthy economy (not placing too great a hardship on industry) and remaining sensitive to social responsibility (not placing an undue burden on consumers).

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