States Considering Future of Northeast Climate Program
BOSTON — Nine states in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) will be hosting a webinar today to discuss the future of the eight-year cooperative effort to reduce power plant carbon pollution. Materials that will be discussed during the webinar indicate that states will take the important step of establishing emissions limits through 2030, but the ambition and scope of new rules remains unresolved.
“RGGI’s success shows that states can and should lead on climate,” said Acadia Center President Daniel Sosland. Acadia Center’s July 2016 report Measuring Success shows that states in RGGI have experienced 3.6% more economic growth than states that have yet to act on climate, even as emissions have declined 16% more in RGGI states than in other states.
The core decision about RGGI’s future centers on the cap level — the overall limit on carbon pollution — and states are describing two options on today’s webinar: a cap that continues the current 2.5% annual decline, and a more ambitious cap that declines by 3.5% annually.
In addition to potential cap levels, the RGGI states will be discussing possible changes to other program design elements including accounting for banked and surplus emissions allowances and price controls. “These program designs will be crucial to ensuring that the RGGI cap achieves necessary reduction targets and avoids being burdened by a glut of allowances leading to insignificant carbon prices,” said Jordan Stutt, Policy Analyst in Acadia Center’s Clean Energy Initiative. “Improvements to existing design elements and the establishment of a strong emissions containment reserve will show that the RGGI states are committed to improving—not just maintaining—their model program.”
“State action on climate is now more important than ever,” said Peter Shattuck, Director of Acadia Center’s Clean Energy Initiative. “During the hottest year on record and with federal action uncertain, building on RGGI’s success is vital. Establishing ambitious targets through 2030 will show the country and the world that the RGGI states intend to remain at the forefront of climate action.”
Information on RGGI’s performance to date and necessary reforms through the 2016 Program Review are described in Acadia Center’s recent RGGI Status Report:
Additional information on the benefits of RGGI can be found at https://www.cleanenergyeconomy.us/
The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) is the first mandatory, market-based effort in the United States to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Nine northeastern and mid-Atlantic states reduce CO2 emissions by setting an overall limit on emissions “allowances,” which permit power plants to dispose of CO2 in the atmosphere. States sell allowances through auctions and invest proceeds in consumer benefit programs: energy efficiency, renewable energy, and other programs.
The official RGGI website is: www.rggi.org