Boston, MA – A bipartisan coalition of Northeast and Mid-Atlantic Governors today committed to extending and strengthening their landmark climate cooperative, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). The agreement places RGGI states – which collectively comprise the 6th largest economy in the world, ahead of France, India and Brazil 1 – in the vanguard of climate action following the Trump administration’s misguided decision to withdraw from the Paris Accord.
“RGGI governors today showed what real leadership looks like,” said Daniel Sosland, president of Acadia Center. “The Trump Administration has turned the federal government’s back on the historic opportunity to build a clean energy future that reduces climate pollution, and the need to safeguard consumers and the climate has shifted to the states and regions. Strengthening RGGI is critical to demonstrating the benefits of climate action and filling the void of irresponsible federal policy.”
RGGI governors announced a number of improvements that will reduce carbon pollution by over 132 million tons through 2030, the equivalent of taking over 28 million cars off the road for a year:
- Extending the pollution cap to 2030, when it would decline 30% from 2020 levels
- Conducting a further downward cap adjustment of approximately 25 million tons to account for surplus banked emissions allowances
- Higher ceiling prices for emissions allowances
- Creation of an innovative Emissions Containment Reserve to soak up extra allowances that go unsold at regional auctions
“Strengthening RGGI is one of the most effective and important steps to tackle climate pollution,” said Peter Shattuck, Director of Acadia Center’s Clean Energy Initiative. “Market based policies unleash the innovation and investment needed to achieve state climate targets and the goals of the Paris Agreement, and RGGI has shown just how well smart climate policy works.”
Since its inception, RGGI has been an unparalleled success.
- Carbon dioxide emissions from power plants in the region have dropped 40%, while participating states’ economies have grown by 25%. 2
- Electricity prices have declined 3.4% in RGGI states since the program launched, compared with a 7.2% increase in electricity prices for states yet to act on climate. 3
- RGGI has added over 30,000 jobs to the regional workforce. 4
- Declining emissions from CO2 have been accompanied by reductions in other hazardous pollutants, making the air cleaner and avoiding $5.7 billion in healthcare impacts. 5
“State and regional action is delivering major success through RGGI,” said Jordan Stutt, Policy Analyst at Acadia Center. “RGGI is helping to create the clean electric sector that will provide the backbone to a wider clean economy. We applaud Governors Baker, Cuomo, Raimondo, Scott and Malloy on this decision, and look forward to continuing climate leadership, including steps to tackle transportation – the region’s largest source of climate pollution.”
1. RGGI on the World Stage, Acadia Center, June 2017, available at: https://acadiacenter.org/document/rggi-on-the-world-stage/
2. The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative Status Report: Measuring Success, Acadia Center, July 2016, available at: https://acadiacenter.org/document/measuring-rggi-success/.
4. The Economic Impacts of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative on Ten Northeast and Mid-Atlantic States, Paul Hibbard et al., Analysis Group, November 2011, available at: https://web.archive.org/web/20170313223228/http://www.analysisgroup.com/uploadedfiles/content/insights/publishing/economic_impact_rggi_report.pdf and The Economic Impacts of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative on Nine Northeast and Mid-Atlantic States, July 2015, available at: https://web.archive.org/web/20170313223308/http://www.analysisgroup.com/uploadedfiles/content/insights/publishing/analysis_group_rggi_report_july_2015.pdf.
5. Analysis of the Public Health Impacts of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, 2009-2014, Michelle Manion et al., Abt Associates, January 2017, available at: http://abtassociates.com/RGGI.
Dan Sosland, President
Peter Shattuck, Director, Clean Energy Initiative