In 2006, then-governor Arnold Schwarzenegger passed AB32, California’s Global Warming Solutions Act. In this mandate, the state is required to cut its current greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. One way the state is trying to achieve this goal is through the introduction of a cap-and-trade program developed by the state’s Air Resources Board (ARB).
On 12/20/05, seven northeast States signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) implemented the first multi-state mandated cap on CO2 emissions from power plants in the US. The program, known as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), targets fossil-fuel fired units of 25MW or greater in CT, DE, ME, NH, NJ, NY and VT. Two other States involved in the RGGI process - MA and RI - initially declined to sign the MOU, however, both States resolved to join the program in early 2007.
PA, MD and DC participated in the process as Observer States. In April, 2006, the MD state legislature passed a bill forcing the Governor to agree to join RGGI, which would later occur in the middle of 2007.
At the end of 2011, New Jersey officially pulled out of the program.
Canada ratified the Kyoto Protocol on December 17, 2002. However, the Government of Canada has not implemented national policy or a national emissions trading scheme to date and later exited Kyoto in late 2011.
Increasing numbers of companies are voluntarily offsetting the emissions associated with their activities as a part of their corporate social responsibility. Greenhouse gases are emitted when fossil-fueled energy is consumed. Some corporate emissions can be managed - we can use less energy, travel less and use public transport - but some emissions are practically unavoidable. The environmental impact of these emissions can be offset by reducing elsewhere - helping someone else to emit less. This is generally referred to as ‘carbon offsetting’