The next bit of good news is that—as outlined by our friends at the Acadia Center—there is much the RGGI states can do to strengthen the program so it continues to deliver benefits to our climate. RGGI works by requiring power producers in the region to buy carbon allowances at quarterly auctions or on the secondary market to cover each ton of carbon they emit, with the number of allowances declining each year. The states then use the auction revenue to support consumer programs, with the vast majority of the cash going toward energy efficiency; renewable energy; direct bill assistance; and other greenhouse gas abatement programs. As mentioned above, these investments have generated billions of dollars in regional benefits, and to keep these benefits flowing, the RGGI states must commit to further carbon pollution reductions after 2020, Acadia shows. As we’ve highlighted before, and Acadia further discusses, in addition to the cap trajectory, the RGGI states must also reform the cost containment reserve and how they treat unused, banked allowances in order to avoid undermining the climate integrity of the program.
Read the full blog post from NRDC here.