On November 2, the New Mexico Environmental Improvement Board enabled the state’s participation in the Western Climate Initiative by approving a plan to establish a state-level greenhouse gas cap-and-trade program. The state program will begin in 2012 and will affect 63 industrial emission sources, including electric generators. These sources will have to reduce emissions two percent annually until 2020 or obtain – from either other market participants or the program administrator – a number of allowances (rights to emit) sufficient to cover their emissions. A number of mechanisms are included within the program plan to keep costs down for industry and consumers while “maintaining the environmental integrity of the program.” In order to protect the state’s industries, the program will not be implemented unless there are at least 100 million tons of emissions within the emissions trading bloc, outside of New Mexico (166 million tons are covered within California’s cap-and-trade program announced on October 29). Opponents have stated they will appeal the Board’s decision and governor-elect Susana Martinez has said she will seek to put a moratorium on the program.
More information on U.S. regional cap and trade programs