They began auctioning credits from well-performing plants in 2008. Over three years, the sales raised roughly $440 million for state coffers. According to the Analysis Group, costs from the system amounted to about 0.7 percent to electric bills in that period.
But many fossil fuel providers have challenged the idea that their products contribute to global warming through the release of greenhouse gases. With the Koch bothers and others in the energy industry providing major funding for Republicans in recent elections, including this year's presidential race, few with national ambitions are willing to oppose their interests.
In January, carbon dioxide emissions from the participating states dropped 34 percent below the 2011 emissions cap, according to Environment Northeast. But the success brought some practical problems, with participants agreeing last month to tighten what some viewed as too-lenient prices on emission offsets.
“This report proves, once and for all, that RGGI is a win-win for New Jersey’s economy and environment,” Matt Elliott, Environment New Jersey's clean energy advocate, said in a press release.
“RGGI has worked," said Jeff Tittel, executive director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. "It has saved us money, reduced greenhouse gases, and created jobs."