Contrary to what Christie said in 2011, New Jersey has lost money as a result of exiting RGGI. The state lost out on $130 million in proceeds from auctions where RGGI sells emissions permits and could miss out on another $359 million by the end of 2020 if it doesn’t rejoin, according to estimates by the Acadia Center think tank. If the sum of that money were invested in energy efficiency programs, as RGGI is designed to facilitate, New Jersey would save 15.3 million megawatt hours of electricity, more than all the power produced by the state’s coal-fired plants from 2010 to 2012.
The nine remaining states are deciding between three different options to ramp up the rate at which RGGI reduces emissions. But the states are split between those who want the most ambitious target, such as New York and Massachusetts, and those that want the more modest choice, including Maine and New Hampshire. The difference in cost between the most and least ambitious targets comes out to less than one-tenth of one penny more per kilowatt hour of electricity over the current standard, yet the impact would be huge. Choosing the most aggressive reduction rate would avoid 99 million short tons of carbon dioxide emissions, according to the Acadia Center.
Read the full article from Mother Jones here.