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Reclaiming the Atmospheric CommonsThe Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and a New Model of Emissions Trading$
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Leigh Raymond

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780262034746

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262034746.001.0001

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Normative Reframing and the RGGI Revolution

Normative Reframing and the RGGI Revolution

(p.83) 4 Normative Reframing and the RGGI Revolution
Reclaiming the Atmospheric Commons

Leigh Raymond

The MIT Press

This chapter provides a detailed analysis of the multi-year design process leading to the implementation of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) in 2008. It considers the question: How did RGGI’s policy designers succeed in auctioning virtually all of the program’s emissions allowances, wheresimilar efforts to promote auctions failed? After reviewing the limits of existing explanations of RGGI’s decision to auction allowances that are grounded in the interest group politics model, the chapter offers a detailed analysis of the RGGI design process to demonstrate the central role of the new public benefit model in making auctions politically viable. Public and private accounts confirm the prominence of this new normative framing for auctions from the very beginning of the process, and its influence over the political choice to make this policy change.

Keywords:   RGGI, Cap and trade, Auctions, Public benefits, Polluter pays norms, Egalitarian norms, Policy change, Climate policy

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