This paper investigates the complex processes of climate change by highlighting the devastating consequences of climatic disturbances on the northeastern sugar maple (acer saccharum) in the United States. The paper then analyzes the economic impact of climate change, as seen through the site-specific case study of the sugar maple, to illustrate the importance of curbing carbon emissions to prevent the extirpation of species integral to their ecosystems and their human counterparts alike. The paper next provides a detailed background on the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), which is the first regional cap and trade system in the United States, and which aims to reduce carbon emissions in the northeast in lieu of any coherent national climate change legislation. The paper concludes by assessing the strengths and weaknesses of the RGGI as a long-term solution to climate change in the northeastern U.S., and by answering the question of whether this system should serve as a model for future cap and trade systems in the United States and beyond.
|Keywords:||Climate Change, Ecosystem, Species Extinction, Sugar Maple, Cap and Trade, RGGI, Carbon Emissions|
Associate Attorney, Meyer Glitzenstein & Crystal (Public Interest Environmental Law Firm), Washington, DC, USA
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