The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative is a cooperative effort by nine Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states. RGGI is the first mandatory, market-based effort to limit greenhouse gas emissions in the United States.
The states of Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont are signatory to RGGI. These ten states will cap CO2 emissions from the power sector, and then require a 10% reduction in these emissions by 2018. Pennsylvania, as well as three Canadian provinces (Ontario, New Brunswick, and Quebec) are observing the process. The observing entities are not participating in the auction, and don't have equivalent GHG regulations.
Each of the nine RGGI states has an individual CO2 Budget Trading Program. These programs are implemented through state regulations, but are regionally linked through CO2 allowance reciprocity, meaning an allowance issued by any participating state will be recognized by the other participating states. Due to this reciprocity, the nine RGGI states will comprise a single regional carbon allowances market.
The first two emission allowance auctions were held in September and December 2008. The proceeds will be invested in energy efficiency, renewable energy, and other clean energy technologies in the participating states. Through this investment, RGGI will support innovation in alternative energy and create green jobs region-wide.