In a letter sent today to Governor Malloy and the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, environmental, business, consumer, and public health organizations call for strengthening and expansion of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), which Connecticut is currently chairing through a Program Review. The letter notes that RGGI provides an effective and existing mechanism to meet the state’s statutory greenhouse gas (GHG) targets and follow through on the state’s recent commitments to climate leadership.
“Governor Malloy has made strong commitments to address the threats of climate change,” said Daniel Sosland, Acadia Center President. “Strengthening, extending, and expanding RGGI is a clear way to follow through on climate commitments.”
As the Malloy Administration battles raids on RGGI’s clean energy funding, the letter cites some of the benefits that RGGI has provided to-date – $245 million in value added to Connecticut’s economy, more than 2,200 job-years of employment, GHG reductions of 35%, and $13 million in avoided health impacts. “RGGI has had a tremendous impact in Connecticut through the state’s reinvestment of auction proceeds,” said Jamie Howland, Director of Acadia Center’s Energy Efficiency and Demand Side Initiative. “Continued use of RGGI revenue for clean energy investment is the surest path to realizing the thriving, low-carbon economy that Governor Malloy has envisioned for the state.”
In advance of the next Program Review meeting on April 29th, the groups call on Connecticut to lead partner states in pursuing ambitious reforms to the RGGI’s pollution reduction targets. Specifically, the letter calls for evaluation of pollution reductions of up to 5% per year from power plants covered by RGGI, an ambitious yet achievable rate that matches reductions since RGGI launched. “On a day of unprecedented international action on climate change, now is the time to be ambitious,” said Peter Shattuck, Director of Acadia Center’s Clean Energy Initiative. “Connecticut’s leadership will be vital to strengthening RGGI, and RGGI must be a vital part of Connecticut’s approach to addressing climate change.”
Looking beyond the power sector, the letter also commends Connecticut for partnering with other states to explore market-based approaches to reduce transportation sector emissions, which comprise an increasing share of regional climate pollution
The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) is the first mandatory, market-based effort in the United States to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Nine Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic states reduce CO2 emissions by setting an overall limit on emissions “allowances” which permit power plants to dispose of CO2 in the atmosphere. States sell allowances through auctions and invest proceeds in consumer benefit programs: energy efficiency, renewable energy, and other programs.
The official RGGI web site is: www.rggi.org
Peter Shattuck, Director, Clean Energy Initiative
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Kiernan Dunlop, Communications Associate
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