The path to a mandatory US-ETS: the Chicago Climate Exchange, RGGI, and other starting points
Hessen's State Ministry for Environment, Energy, Agriculture and Consumer Protection and its partners held a half-day conference on the themes of emissions trading and climate policy in the USA as part of a year-long series of events. Dominic Marcellino, Fellow, Ecologic Institute Washington, gave a presentation on the current political situation in the United States with respect to climate change.
As the prospects of a national climate change law have dimmed at the end of 2010, the presentation focused on the regional emissions tradings systems that already exist in the US and those that may begin in coming years. These systems include: the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative in New England; the Western Climate Initiative, with Western US States joining with several Canadian Provinces; and the Midwestern Greenhouse Gas Reduction Accord. If all three systems were implemented as robustly as possible, they would cover over 35% of total US emissions. The Chicago Climate Exchange could offer a possible platform for the trading of credits between systems.
Though the likelihood of all three systems being robustly implemented remains small, prospects for businesses from Hessen and Germany in the United States have not disappeared. Despite the lack of climate change legislation, Dominic reminded the audience that opportunities remain strong and are likely to grow in the areas of energy efficiency, renewable energy, and the electric grid (especially the smart grid and infrastructure). A copy of the presentation is available for download [pdf, 2.8 MB, German].