Boston – A new report from Acadia Center explains how reforms to the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) could strengthen the program to ensure that member states meet their state and federal emissions reduction targets. RGGI’s experience to-date has demonstrated that market-based solutions can achieve significant emissions reductions while creating economic benefits, and makes the participating Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states well positioned to comply with EPA’s Clean Power Plan. However, as national leaders on climate action, eight of the nine RGGI states have established economy-wide GHG reduction goals for 2050, and meeting these goals will require the states to go above and beyond the Clean Power Plan targets. Acadia Center’s report, What’s Next for RGGI?, details how the RGGI model aligns with the framework of the final Clean Power Plan, and describes the changes that can be made in the upcoming 2016 Program Review to put the RGGI states on a path to meet their long-term targets.
Key takeaways from the report:
- EPA’s Final CPP targets have been modified to level the playing field between leading and opportunity states;
- Final CPP targets will require reforms to strengthen RGGI;
- Necessary reforms will allow states to achieve 27% of their 2050 economy-wide GHG reduction requirements through RGGI;
- Without strengthening reforms RGGI will deliver only 1% of state GHG reduction requirements;
- Reducing electric sector emissions through RGGI is the most effective means of achieving economy-wide GHG reduction requirements.
“The RGGI states have designed a model that is demonstrating how emissions reductions can be achieved at low costs to ratepayers and economic benefits,” said Daniel L. Sosland, Acadia Center President.
“RGGI states are well positioned to meet the requirements of the Clean Power Plan,” said Jordan Stutt, Policy Analyst at Acadia Center. “The upcoming 2016 Program Review offers the opportunity to strengthen the program and ensure long-term emissions reductions from the power sector.”
By undertaking the following program reforms, RGGI states will ensure continuation of the program’s environmental, consumer, and economic benefits:
- Aligning the RGGI cap trajectory with long-term state GHG reduction requirements, which can be achieved through a fixed annual decline that achieves a cumulative 90% reduction in power sector emissions by 2050; and
- Restructuring or removing the cost containment reserve (CCR) mechanism to avoid the release of additional allowances that undermine RGGI’s environmental performance.
“As creators of the nation’s first market-based program for reducing CO2 emissions from the power sector, RGGI states have a strong record of leadership,” said Peter Shattuck, Director of Acadia Center’s Clean Energy Initiative. “RGGI’s next phase can keep states on track for demonstrating the viability and benefits of sound climate policy.”
For more information on RGGI and the program’s performance to-date, see: http://acadiacenter.org/document/rggi-a-model-program-for-the-power-sector-2015-update
Peter Shattuck, Director, Clean Energy Initiative
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Jordan Stutt, Policy Analyst
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Kiernan Dunlop, Communications Associate
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