Weekly Roundup: CSG National Conference, Green Freight and the Chicago Climate Exchange

Three items to report on briefly today:

· Two weeks from today, CSG will convene its 2010 National Conference in Providence, RI.  During the meeting, the Energy & Environment Policy Task Force will host an open roundtable discussion focusing on the key issues states can be expected to face in 2011.  The roundtable presents an excellent opportunity for participants to share their insights and concerns related to energy and the environment.  The meeting, which is open to all conference attendees, will be moderated by the Task Force’s chair, Rep. Chris Ross (PA), and vice-chair, Rep. Tom Sloan (KS), both of whom have extensive backgrounds in energy- and environment-related matters.  This is also your opportunity to help guide our future research and project efforts as we rely on you, our experts in the field, to keep us apprised of the issues most pertinent to you and your needs.

· Sean Slone, CSG’s Transportation Policy expert and I have just released our latest report, Green Freight, on how state’s can improve the freight transportation system from both an economical and environmental perspective.   By improving traffic flow, minimizing idling times, and improving port operations, for example, states can not only mitigate emissions, they can reduce congestion and delays on roads, in ports, and in our country’s rail yards that lead to increased financial costs.  We invite you to check it out.

· Finally, a news-worthy item of note this week is the folding of the Chicago Climate Exchange or CCX, a voluntary trading program for the 6 greenhouse gases, which saw its fate sealed when cap-and-trade died in Congress this year.  Does this mean cap-and-trade is dead for good?  Not quite.  Regional trading programs such as RGGI (the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative) and similar ones being developed in the West and Midwest are either operational or moving forward, indicating the states’ desire to continue tackling climate change.  Given a large enough number of members, there will eventually be calls for the programs to be reconciled nationally.  So cap-and-trade may be dead for now, but will seek a return to the national stage again.