Carbon Lighthouse is committed to only purchasing carbon allowances from legally-enforceable, domestic carbon cap and trade markets. This ensures that our clients can be confident their investment is going towards real, verifiable green house gas emission reductions. When Carbon Lighthouse purchases allowances on behalf of clients, those allowances are permanently removed from the system and cannot be used again.

Currently the only mandatory carbon cap and trade systems in the United States are the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, or RGGI (pronounced “Reggie”), and California’s AB32. RGGI regulates the total carbon dioxide that can be emitted by power plants in nine northeastern states. At the end of each three-year compliance period every regulated power plant must submit allowances to cover all of their emissions over those three years. The maximum amount of emissions (or “the cap”) is currently held at 2009 levels and will ratchet down by 2.5% every year starting in 2015. This is projected to result in a 16% decrease in carbon emissions from the regulated power plants by 2020, as compared to the assumed business-as-usual growth rate scenario.

At the end of 2013, in response to massive reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, the RGGI States elected to reduce the cap by more than 40%.

Power plants and other parties can purchase allowances at quarterly auctions administered by RGGI, Inc., the not-for-profit entity formed to run the program on behalf of the states, or on the secondary market. Carbon Lighthouse uses donations to participate in the auctions; every ton of carbon dioxide that we purchase is one less ton that can legally be emitted by a power plant. Additionally, over 80% of the RGGI auction funds are used to support energy efficiency programs, further increasing the impact of the investment.

Thus far RGGI auctions have raised $1.9 billion dollars for the participating States.