Carbon Trading in the United States
Forthcoming in Van Calster, G., Vandenberghe, W., and Reins, L. (eds), Research Handbook on Climate Mitigation Law, Cheltenham, Edward Elgar, 2014
31 Pages Posted: 26 Mar 2014 Last revised: 5 Jun 2014
Date Written: March 25, 2014
Despite several attempts, the United States Congress has been unable to pass cap and trade legislation. Congress’ failure to regulate greenhouse gas emissions has provoked a variety of responses. For example, states have implemented regional carbon trading programs with a range of designs and varying levels of success. In addition, states and environmental organizations successfully sued to compel the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to regulate carbon emissions under the Clean Air Act, a process that is continuing to unfold. Whether the resulting regulations will either preempt or, alternately, promote state and regional carbon markets remains to be seen. Meanwhile, private organizations and individuals have increasingly embraced voluntary carbon offsets, providing an example of a growing alternative to compliance markets. This chapter summarizes the ongoing experiments with carbon trading that continue to evolve in the face of weak federal leadership on climate change.
Keywords: Clean Air Act, carbon trading, carbon offset, voluntary offset market, climate change, greenhouse gas, carbon sequestration, Global Warming Solutions Act, Environmental Protection Agency, AB 32
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