BOSTON — A new report from Acadia Center shows that the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic States’ Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) continues to succeed in driving down emissions, which have declined in each of the last 5 years and are down 37% since the program launched. Over the same time period electricity prices have declined across the region, even as prices in other states have increased, and RGGI states have outpaced other states on both emissions reductions and economic growth. The analysis, Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative Status Report, Part I: Measuring Success describes key trends and drivers, including that:
- Emissions of CO2 fell 6.3% below the RGGI cap in 2015.
- Electricity prices across the region have decreased by 3.4% on average since RGGI took effect, while electricity prices in other states have increased by 7.2%.
- RGGI states have reduced emissions by 16% more than other states and seen 3.6% more economic growth since RGGI launched.
- Electric sector trends responsible for low emissions — including increasing generation from renewables and natural gas and growing investments in energy efficiency — show no signs of reversing.
- Reforms decided during the 2016 Program Review will determine whether RGGI continues to succeed.
“The experience of the RGGI states shows that we can reduce emissions while benefitting consumers and boosting economic growth,” said Daniel L. Sosland, Acadia Center President.
“States within RGGI have done better since the program’s launch than states that have yet to act,” said Peter Shattuck, Director of Acadia Center’s Clean Energy Initiative. “As more states consider how to reduce climate pollution, RGGI’s precedent is an important example of how market-based programs deliver real benefits.”
Against this backdrop of success to-date, RGGI’s member states are currently working to determine the program’s future course through the 2016 Program Review. The reforms being considered will determine the extent to which states can use the RGGI model to continue to reduce emissions to meet state and federal requirements and address the threat of climate change. “These states have the opportunity to continue their role as national leaders on climate,” said Jordan Stutt, Policy Analyst at Acadia Center. “RGGI is an effective and proven tool to address the increasingly apparent threats of climate change, and experience to date shows that more progress is achievable.”
Part II of RGGI Status Report will focus on key decisions states face in the 2016 Program Review, including RGGI’s level of ambition through 2030 and other changes needed to achieve state-level climate commitments and the requirements of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan.
For more information, see: acadiacenter.org/document/measuring-rggi-success
Krysia Wazny, Communications Associate
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Peter Shattuck, Director, Clean Energy Initiative
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