Court Decision on Climate Plan Jolts Carbon Prices

By bmagill, Standard Examiner.

A temporary halt to the federal government’s plan to cut electric power plant emissions has caused carbon prices in the Northeast’s only cap-and-trade program to plummet, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

Carbon prices in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, or RGGI, have fallen 40 percent since the Supreme Court’s decision in February to stay the Clean Power Plan — from their peak at $7.50 per metric ton of carbon dioxide in December to $4.53 per ton in June.

RGGI is America’s first mandatory market-based cap-and-trade program, which places a collective limit on carbon emissions among its nine member states. Power plant emissions under that limit are called “allowances,” and the program stamps a price on them so they can be traded among polluters. Carbon prices are set at quarterly auctions, and proceeds are invested in state renewable energy, energy efficiency and other sustainability programs.