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Almost all the relevant action in the arena of U.S. greenhouse gas mitigation is taking place within and among the states, and here comes the next step: a regional-level initiative to cap and trade greenhouse gas emissions. Led by the governor of New York, and involving nine northeastern and mid-Atlantic states, the scheme also involves “observer” states and Canadian provinces and could link up with the European Union’s emissions controls and trading system. The cap and trade system could be in place by 2007 or 2008.

This plan builds on the important inroads that have been laid as part of the New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers Climate Change Action Plan. Such plans are important, because if they were considered as independent nations, U.S. states would comprise about 25 of the top 60 countries that emit greenhouse gases. If the federal government isn’t going to act, it’s good that someone at least will.

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