Stopping Global Warming Begins at Home
The Case Against the Use of Offsets in a Regional Power Sector Cap-and-Trade Program

Executive Summary

A group of northeastern states have joined together in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) to limit emissions of carbon dioxide from power plants in the region. A number of stakeholders in the RGGI process have suggested that the region allow owners of power plants to purchase “offsets” (reductions in global warming emissions made at other facilities outside the region or at facilities other than the fossil fuel power plants regulated under the program). Allowing offsets to be used to comply with a regional power-sector emission cap could undermine otherwise significant gains in reducing carbon dioxide emissions from power generating facilities.