New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) announced Thursday that he would pull out of a regional climate pact by the end of the year, delivering a political setback to the fledging effort to curb greenhouse gas emissions linked to global warming.
In a news conference, Christie said the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a 2005 accord in which 10 states agreed to cut greenhouse gas emissions from power plants 10 percent by 2018, would not be able to meet its goals.
The program requires plants in the region that burn fossil fuels to buy pollution allowances for the carbon they emit, which they can trade among themselves. It took effect in 2008, making it the first cap on greenhouse gas emissions implemented in the United States.
But Republican gains in last fall’s elections on both the state and national levels have prompted a reexamination of such programs in the Northeast, as well as in the Midwest and West. Questions are being raised about the extent to which these regional initiatives can cut greenhouse gas emissions without mandatory federal limits. In addition to New Jersey, states in the RGGI are Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont.