Federal rollbacks require states to lead the transition to a clean energy economy
BOSTON — Today’s announcement from the Trump Administration rolling back carbon pollution standards for power plants and weakening consideration of the societal costs of carbon pollution from the regulatory review process is the latest in a series of ill-informed actions that will damage the nation’s need to build a modern, less polluting and more consumer-friendly economic future. These actions by the Trump Administration underscore that Northeast states must act to protect existing climate policies and step up their commitments to address the threat of climate change.
“The Trump Administration is turning the nation’s back on the historic opportunity to build a clean energy future—a future that will modernize our energy system, offer consumers better value for their energy dollars and invest in state and local economies while taking the right steps to reduce climate pollution,” said Daniel Sosland, president of Acadia Center. “The Administration’s actions will increase pollution, damage public health and cost consumers more. Removing from federal decision making the impact carbon pollution has on society is a thinly-veiled attempt to make these backward decisions seem more economic. Leadership to safeguard consumers and the climate has now shifted to the states and cities, and Acadia Center is calling on states to respond by redoubling their commitments to a clean energy future and spurring market growth for clean power, energy efficiency and low polluting technologies.”
Northeast states have proven their leadership by implementing bipartisan climate and energy policies that enhance economic growth while cutting pollution. These state actions are now dramatically more important as the Trump Administration seeks to undermine environmental and climate protections. Key policies that states have put into place and must protect include:
- The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) cap and trade program, which has helped to reduce emissions from regional power plants 40% over 8 years of operation while raising $2.6 billion for states to reinvest in energy efficiency and consumer programs. Actual data shows that economic growth in the RGGI states exceeded other states. RGGI was implemented in response to federal inaction on climate change and provided a model for state-based policies at the heart of the Clean Power Plan pollution standards now being rejected by the Trump Administration.
- The Zero Emissions Vehicle (ZEV) agreement among Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, Vermont, Maryland, Oregon and California to put 3.3 million electric vehicles on the road by 2025. The ZEV program and decades of established leadership by California under the Clean Air Act may be the next target for federal rollbacks if EPA revokes the authority for California and thereby other states to adopt emissions standards more stringent than federal minimums.
- Cost-effective Energy Efficiency investment programs are leading the nation and delivering billions of dollars in energy cost savings, avoiding air pollution, and reducing strain on the grid. In the 6-state New England power grid alone, energy efficiency investments have improved the reliability of the grid and avoided nearly $500 million in consumer payments for unnecessary transmission infrastructure. ENERGY STAR, one of the core federal efficiency programs is targeted for elimination under the Trump Administration’s proposed federal budget.
- Renewable Energy development driven by state Renewable Portfolio Standards, solar policies, and coordinated procurement of several power plants worth of on- and offshore wind, solar and hydroelectricity is unlocking clean energy potential and helping to phase out dated fossil fuel options. Federal tax credits for renewable energy and continuing offshore wind leasing are critical to enabling clean energy deployment.
Additionally, Northeast states have made explicit commitments to address the threat of climate change. New England states have agreed to a 35%-45% reduction in carbon pollution by 2030, and cities and states in the region are signatories to a multi-national agreement to reduce climate pollution sufficiently by 2050 to limit global temperature increase to 2 degrees Celsius.
“There is broad public support for common-sense steps to rein in climate pollution,” said Peter Shattuck, Director of Acadia Center’s Clean Energy Initiative. “The elections didn’t halt climate change, but they created a void that must be filled by city, state and regional leadership on one of the greatest threats of our time.”
Peter Shattuck, Director, Clean Energy Initiative
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Krysia Wazny, Communications Director
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