If the cap fits...

Legal compliance seems the only way to achieve cuts in carbon dioxide emissions. Europe is leading the way, but the US is some way from a similar approach, despite a regional initiative sparking some interest. Joe Marsh reports

A mandatory CO2 cap-and-trade scheme for power plants in the US by 2006? It hardly seems a likely proposition – the US government is not likely to ratify the Kyoto Protocol any time soon, and in December threw its support behind a proposal for a voluntary framework to reduce emissions from the power sector. But this is what the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI or ‘Reggie’) envisages (see box), with the aim of following the European Union, which starts its own carbon emissions trading

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