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30 The Carbon Market: A Primer for Airports Source: (WCI n.d. & RGGI n.d.a.) Figure 4. U.S. regional GHG initiative participation. 3.1.1 Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative RGGI is the first operational regional mandatory climate change program in North America. RGGI regulates the CO2 emissions of fossil fuel-fired power plants located in participating New England and Mid-Atlantic states. Currently 10 states are signatories of RGGI: Maine, New Hamp- shire, Vermont, New York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, Delaware, and Maryland. New Jersey, however, announced that it will not participate in RGGI beyond 2011. In its current form, RGGI utilizes a market-based system to reduce CO2 emissions from the power sector through cap-and-trade. Covered generators are collectively required to hold emis- sions flat from the initial implementation date in 2009 through 2014 and then decline 2.5% per year through 2019. RGGI's ultimate goal is to achieve CO2 emission reductions at least 10% below the 1990 level by 2020 (RGGI n.d.b). RGGI only applies to fossil fuel-fired electrical gen- erating plants with a rated capacity equal to or greater than 25 megawatts (MW). Offset credits are permitted to be used for compliance, but only for a small fraction (currently 3.3%) of a regulated unit's compliance obligation. At this time, only the following five project categories are eligible to generate CO2 offset credits in RGGI: · Landfill methane capture and destruction; · Reduction in emissions of sulfur hexafluoride (SF6); · Carbon sequestration due to afforestation; · Reduction or avoidance of CO2 emissions from natural gas, oil, or propane end-use combus- tion due to end-use energy efficiency in the building sector; and · Avoided methane emissions from agricultural manure management operations. A total of 11 auctions have been held. The auction clearing price has steadily decreased since the second auction, with the most recent auctions clearing at or near the statutory minimum re- serve price of $1.86 per allowance, an indication that the program is over-supplied with emis- sion allowances (RGGI n.d.b.).