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Acadia Center Applauds Regional Coordination to Reduce Tailpipe Pollution, Urges Ambitious, Equitable Action

TCI Announcement Demonstrates Benefits of Transition to Clean Transportation, Highlights Need for Strong Program

BOSTON — Today, 12 states and the District of Columbia announced the details of a new, regional program to cut tailpipe pollution while delivering much needed investment in clean, equitable, modern transportation options. Working together through the Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI), these jurisdictions[1] have developed a multi-state cap-and-invest program to address rising transportation emissions and the need for greater investment in a clean transportation future.

Launching this program will be a major accomplishment at a substantial scale: the TCI region, were it a single country, would represent the world’s third largest economy.

“States are leading the way with subnational action on climate,” said Daniel Sosland, Acadia Center’s President. “By working together, this region can achieve globally significant carbon reductions while delivering billions of dollars each year for grants and investments to help every community thrive. From rural towns to the region’s biggest cities, TCI can fund investments to make better transportation options more accessible, affordable, and reliable.”

Along with the policy details in the draft Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), the TCI jurisdictions released modeling results demonstrating that regional action to reduce transportation pollution will deliver economic, health, and environmental benefits. Under the most ambitious policy analyzed, the region would see the following impacts in 2032:

The modeling makes it clear that launching a TCI program will be a tremendous step forward if the participating jurisdictions implement an ambitious emissions cap. As the modeling shows, each increasingly more ambitious policy scenario delivers greater health savings and more resources for clean, equitable transportation investment.

Given these findings, the TCI states should establish a cap that declines by at least 25% from 2022 to 2032, if not more. Of the policy scenarios analyzed, the 25% cap comes closest to ensuring the necessary cuts in transportation pollution to meet state economy-wide climate requirements. While the 25% cap would represent progress, the TCI jurisdictions have an opportunity to chart an even bolder path; a more ambitious emissions cap will ensure that participating states meet their climate requirements while delivering greater health savings and enabling more transformational investments. Those investments in public transit, electric vehicles, active mobility, and other clean transportation projects will provide greater access to the clean, affordable, reliable transportation options that this region needs.

The importance of strategic investment has been demonstrated through the region’s experience with the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). The investment of over $3 billion in RGGI auction proceeds has helped participating states become national leaders on energy efficiency while creating high quality, local jobs. Those RGGI-funded investments have contributed to the fact that electricity prices in the RGGI states have declined since the program launched, while prices have increased in the rest of the country.

Through TCI, states in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic can build on RGGI’s success while improving the model. Investments funded by TCI must be dedicated to reducing pollution and delivering a more equitable transportation system, and complementary policies will be essential to the rapid and just transition to a clean transportation future.

“Investment in better transportation options while reducing tailpipe pollution is a winning combination,” said Jordan Stutt, Carbon Programs Director. “Acadia Center applauds the TCI jurisdictions for developing this program, and we call on every participating Governor to ensure that the program is both robust and equitable; the program’s success will be determined by their ambition.”

[1] The TCI jurisdictions are: Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Washington, D.C.


Media Contacts

MA and Regional
Jordan Stutt, Carbon Programs Director
jstutt@acadiacenter.org, 617-742-0054 x105

Connecticut
Amy McLean Salls, Connecticut Director and Senior Policy Advocate
amcleansalls@acadiacenter.org, 860-246-7121 x204

Rhode Island
Hank Webster, Rhode Island Director and Staff Attorney
hwebster@acadiacenter.org, 401-276-0600 x402

Maine
Jeff Marks, Maine Director & Senior Policy Advocate
jmarks@acadiacenter.org, 207-236-6470 x304

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.

EPA Relaxes Tough Fuel-Economy Standards for Cars, Light Trucks

“Clean car standards protect all Americans from unnecessarily high fuel costs and from pollution that is dangerous to public health,’’ said Daniel Sosland, president of the Acadia Center, an advocacy group for a clean-energy future. “Rolling back these standards will damage the country’s economy and its competitive position, contrary to erroneous assertions by EPA.’’

Read the full article from NJ Spotlight here.

Chris Christie Has Plenty to Be Embarrassed About, But This One Really Matters

Contrary to what Christie said in 2011, New Jersey has lost money as a result of exiting RGGI. The state lost out on $130 million in proceeds from auctions where RGGI sells emissions permits and could miss out on another $359 million by the end of 2020 if it doesn’t rejoin, according to estimates by the Acadia Center think tank. If the sum of that money were invested in energy efficiency programs, as RGGI is designed to facilitate, New Jersey would save 15.3 million megawatt hours of electricity, more than all the power produced by the state’s coal-fired plants from 2010 to 2012.

[…]

The nine remaining states are deciding between three different options to ramp up the rate at which RGGI reduces emissions. But the states are split between those who want the most ambitious target, such as New York and Massachusetts, and those that want the more modest choice, including Maine and New Hampshire. The difference in cost between the most and least ambitious targets comes out to less than one-tenth of one penny more per kilowatt hour of electricity over the current standard, yet the impact would be huge. Choosing the most aggressive reduction rate would avoid 99 million short tons of carbon dioxide emissions, according to the Acadia Center.

Read the full article from Mother Jones here.

NJ Record: The price New Jersey pays by turning its back on RGGI

NEW JERSEY is missing out by sitting on the sidelines of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. The state should be a player, not a spectator, in this game that brings so many benefits to the nine states that are already part of the team. A new analysis by our organization (“New Jersey and RGGI: Potential Benefits of Renewed Participation”) shows that by refusing to participate in RGGI, New Jersey is missing out on substantial environmental and economic benefits.