The Northeast is poised to regain momentum on clean energy

A bloc of states from Maine to New Jersey are stitched together by shared power sources and an interdependent set of economies, highways, and waterways. They moved in unison in the earliest throes of clean energy policy. But in recent years, politics has peeled off some while others have surged ahead.

Now some of the smallest and most unlikely players are helping to get everyone moving together again.

Read the full article from Yale Climate Connections here.

New Jersey looks to rejoin RGGI to tackle greenhouse gas emissions

But Jordan Stutt, carbon programs director at Acadia Center, a clean-energy research and advocacy organization with offices throughout the northeastern United States, said those fears are unfounded.

“The doomsday concerns about electricity prices and competitiveness in the region have not come true,” he said.

Emissions from power plants have dropped 51 percent from 2008, a year before the program started, to 2017, he said. Electricity prices in the region have fallen nearly 6 percent, while they have increased by nearly 9 percent in the rest of the country.

Read the full article from WHYY here.

A Regional Push to Clean Up Cars, Trucks and Mass Transit

The effort isn’t unprecedented: California already has a plan to curb transportation emissions, and many East Coast states are members of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). Since 2009, the initiative known as “Reggie” has capped the overall carbon dioxide produced by power plants and required plant operators to buy permits for their emissions.

Power plant emissions have fallen by 51 percent in the region since the program began, according to an analysis of RGGI data by the Acadia Center, an environmental nonprofit with offices in five Northeast states. States have used the permit proceeds to weatherize homes and to give consumers rebates on their electric bills. But the region faces significant hurdles in replicating that reduction with transportation emissions.

Read the full article from Stateline here.

States Dare to Think Big on Climate Change

Even as emissions have come down, electricity rates have fallen by an average of 3.4 percent in the nine states, according to the Acadia Center, an energy research and advocacy organization. And the economies of the nine states have grown faster than the economy of the rest of the country.

 

Read the full editorial at The New York Times here

Nine states aggressively step up plans to cut emissions

“This is what climate leadership looks like,” said Peter Shattuck, director of the Acadia Center in Massachusetts. “Despite the misguided and irresponsible decision to pull the US out of the Paris agreement, states and regions continue to lead, and these improvements put Massachusetts and other RGGI states in the vanguard of climate action.”

In a report last year, the Acadia Center found RGGI states reduced emissions by 16 percent more than other states, while the region’s economy had grown 3.6 percent more than the rest of the country. At the same time, energy prices had fallen by an average of 3.4 percent, while electricity rates in other states rose by 7.2 percent.

Read the full article from The Boston Globe here.

Major Climate Success in Northeast: World’s 6th Largest Economy Filling the Void of Federal Inaction

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: http://acadiacenter.staging.wpengine.com/document/rggi-on-the-world-stage/

2. The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative Status Report: Measuring Success, Acadia Center, July 2016, available at: http://acadiacenter.staging.wpengine.com/document/measuring-rggi-success/.
3. I.d.
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.


Media Contacts:
Dan Sosland, President
dsosland@acadiacenter.org, 207.236.6470

Peter Shattuck, Director, Clean Energy Initiative
pshattuck@acadiacenter.org, 857.636.2502

Northeastern states moving on carbon pricing

Peter Shattuck, director of clean energy initiatives for the regional environmental advocacy group Acadia Center, noted that it was a Republican governor, George Pataki of New York, who proposed RGGI in the face of environmental inaction from President George W. Bush. Four of the region’s original seven RGGI signatories were Republicans.

“In a strange way – this may be one of the silver linings of the Trump administration,” he said. “As he guts every major climate policy that was put in place over the last eight years, there’s a need for governors in the region to step forward and show some leadership.”

Read the full article from Yale Climate Connections here.