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Environmental Justice and Climate-Change Policy--Lessons from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative

By Gavin Kearney

The first mandatory cap-and-trade program in the country, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) has generated substantial revenue for its member states. However, the RGGI and other cap-and-trade systems have serious limitations. Cap and trade must be evaluated at the community level, and RGGI (and cap and trade) does not take into account how communities of color and low income--already disproportionately burdened by pollution--will be affected by its policies. To ensure that the concerns of communities of color and low income are not ignored, advocates must weigh in as cap-and-trade policies are considered in other regions and at the national level. In New York advocates are doing just that.

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