As states look to cut transportation emissions, RGGI offers a model — and room to improve

As a group of Northeastern and mid-Atlantic states begins to design a system to curb regional transportation emissions, planners are expected to turn to the decade-old Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative as a model. Experts say the initiative can provide a good starting point, but that important questions must be answered to translate the concept to transportation.

“We can’t simply cut and paste [the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative] and apply it to the transportation sector,” said Jordan Stutt, carbon programs director at environmental nonprofit the Acadia Center. “There are a lot of considerations that need to be made which are specific to the way we move people and goods.”

Read the full article from Energy News Network here.

Op-ed: Rising transportation emissions are a threat to Maine’s environment

When National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Secretary Elaine Chao and acting Environmental Protection Administration Secretary Andrew Wheeler announced their agencies’ rollback of federal clean car standards in August, they pledged to “ Make Cars Great Again.” In doing so, they have threatened our air, water and public health — and will increase costs for consumers.

Federal clean car standards directly reduce the amount of fuel burned for transportation by requiring auto manufacturers to increase fuel efficiency, saving consumers money and limiting transportation emissions. Consumer Reports says the proposed rollback could cost consumers as much as $100 billion, and the increased pollution is definitely not great for our air or oceans.

Read the full article from Bangor Daily News here.

‘RGGI for transportation’ could be in the works in Massachusetts

Jordan Stutt, director of the carbon program at the Acadia Center, a Boston nonprofit that promotes clean energy solutions, is glad to see the discussion focusing on ways to invest carbon pricing revenue to needed projects. Even a charge of $10 per ton on transportation-related carbon emissions would generate close to $300 million, much of which could be used for much-needed improvements in the state’s transit system, he said.

“It’s not enough to completely replace the need for other funding, but it’s enough to make some real progress,” he said.

Read the full article from Energy News here.

Op-Ed: Climate policy could boost R.I. transportation

While the millions of dollars in VW settlement money is a promising start, building a clean, modern, resilient and equitable network of transportation options will take much larger – and longer-term – investments. A number of policies could provide funds and market signals to accelerate and guide transportation investments; one such policy would be a regional cap-and-invest program. In Rhode Island and regionally, a cap-and-invest policy can reduce emissions while raising revenue for local reinvestment in transportation improvements to better serve residents and businesses.

Read the full article from Providence Business News here.

Rhode Island Listening Sessions for Clean Transportation Are “Positive Step” in Commitment to Regional Policy

Acadia Center, Ceres, NRDC, Sierra Club, and Union of Concerned Scientists See Leadership Opportunity at First Listening Session after Bonn Pledge to Develop Clean Transportation

PROVIDENCE, RI (Media Advisory) — Leading environmental, scientific and business organizations working to advance modern, clean and low-carbon transportation are hopeful that upcoming listening sessions will lead to the development of much-needed transportation policy. Rhode Island and other states across the region (Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Vermont and the District of Columbia) are initiating a series of public listening sessions on transportation and climate issues, seeking public input on the solutions that can implemented to improve and modernize the transportation system. Two listening sessions in Rhode Island will kick things off on April 3rd and 4th, 2018, in Newport and Providence, respectively. For details, go to:

In November, the seven states and Washington, D.C., pledged to explore regional policies to reduce carbon pollution from the transportation sector. The Rhode Island listening sessions for clean transportation will provide a launching pad for discussion of current challenges as well as an opportunity to propose policies that will reduce air pollution generated by cars and trucks while building an equitable transportation network that better serves all of Rhode Island’s residents.

At the listening sessions, policymakers, business leaders and others will discuss solutions to the challenges that lay ahead, including: new infrastructure for electric vehicles; better public transportation, including zero-emission bus service; and programs to ensure low-income and underserved communities have access to transportation options that are affordable, convenient, and non-polluting.

Similar listening sessions were held in Massachusetts last fall, and additional state and regional sessions will follow.

Leading environmental, scientific and business organizations, including Acadia Center, Ceres, Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club and Union of Concerned Scientists are working together to advance modern, efficient, and clean low-carbon transportation solutions in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic. The groups are focused on improving our transportation system — the ways we move people and goods in the region — to spur economic growth, make us healthier and safer, clean up the environment, and improve our quality of life. An improved transportation system means more clean cars and trucks, more reliable mass transit, more walkable and bikeable communities, and investments that connect everyone, including those in underserved and rural areas.


Pat Mitchell, (703) 276-3266 or

Viewpoint: Need for Mass. clean transportation policy

When the world convened recently in Bonn, Germany, for the annual United Nations climate-change negotiations, there was a particular focus on the role of U.S. states, cities and businesses in reducing carbon pollution. Massachusetts, along with six other states and the District of Columbia, announced a regional pledge to work together with stakeholders to “create the clean transportation system that the region needs to meet today’s and tomorrow’s challenges.”

Cleaning up and modernizing the transportation system will be a major undertaking, but it doesn’t have to be a painful one. Massachusetts has demonstrated the ability to address similar challenges through innovative policies and regional collaboration that reduce emissions while improving the economy. The commonwealth played a key role in launching the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), the nation’s first multi-state program to reduce carbon pollution from power plants.

While RGGI has helped Massachusetts make great strides in reducing electric sector pollution, the transportation sector still emits around the same amount of carbon as it did in 1990. Every year, pollution from the transportation sector causes asthma attacks and leads to preventable deaths, taking a massive financial and human toll on Bay State residents. Making matters worse, low-income communities and communities of color face a disproportionate share of the impacts from this pollution.

We can’t transform our transportation system overnight, but we can do more to invest and plan for a better future. From electric vehicle infrastructure to smart growth and improved public transit, we have an array of options to reduce pollution and increase transportation access while benefiting the economy. A RGGI-like program could go a long way to accelerate the adoption of these transportation solutions.

The RGGI cap-and-invest model has helped cut emissions from power plants in the region by 40 percent since 2008, while driving $2.8 billion in regional economic growth and creating nearly 30,000 jobs. Acadia Center analysis shows that RGGI has helped the region outpace the rest of the country in both emissions reductions and economic growth. In Massachusetts alone, these RGGI-driven emissions reductions have resulted in $798 million in avoided health costs.

Recent analysis conducted for the Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI) shows that regional carbon policy — like a cap-and-invest program — would add billions of dollars to the regional economy, reduce harmful pollution and generate revenue for reinvestment in transportation improvements, accelerating the transition to a cleaner, more efficient, more accessible system. A recent report from Ceres and M.J. Bradley and Associates found that the benefits of investments in electric vehicle infrastructure outweigh the costs by a margin of three to one.

Expanding clean transportation options should be a top priority for our economy. Businesses want 21st century cities with transportation systems to match, and they’ve proven to invest resources and create jobs in areas that have them. To keep Massachusetts’ economy thriving, we must embrace clean transportation. Market-based solutions like the RGGI model offer a promising path forward, and we urge Governor Baker and his peers across the region to act swiftly in establishing such a program.

Mindy Lubber is president and CEO of Ceres, a sustainability nonprofit organization. Daniel L. Sosland is president and executive director of Acadia Center, a nonprofit, research and advocacy organization.

Following Bonn Announcement, Leaders and Stakeholders Gather at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy to Discuss the Future of Transportation

MEDFORD, MA—On January 11, 2018 stakeholders from across the northeast region will gather at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University for “The Future of Transportation Symposium: Innovation, Technology & Policy,” a one-day conference co-hosted by Acadia Center and The Fletcher School’s Climate Policy Lab in their Center for International Environment and Resource Policy, and in partnership with Transportation for Massachusetts (T4MA) and other allies.

The symposium will serve as a forum for conversations about how the region can address transportation pollution, access, and innovation from academic, policy, and business perspectives.

The conference follows the November announcement at COP23 in Bonn, Germany by seven states—Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Delaware, New York, Maryland, Vermont, and Washington, D.C.—that they will explore regional climate policies for the transportation sector by holding listening sessions in the coming months. Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker’s administration recently held several well-attended listening sessions, generating input from many members of the public and groups that want to see progress in this area. “The Future of Transportation Symposium” is an opportunity for stakeholders and policy makers to gather and discuss the best approaches and practices to shape state and regional transportation policy.

The symposium will also highlight the leadership of Massachusetts in working to promote modern, forward-looking transportation policies. Matthew Beaton, Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs, will open the day’s activities with an address about the future of transportation in Massachusetts and across the region.

In addition to T4MA, symposium partners include the Environmental League of Massachusetts and the Metropolitan Area Planning Council.

WHAT: The Future of Transportation Symposium: Innovation, Technology & Policy – convened by The Fletcher School’s Climate Policy Lab and Acadia Center

WHO: Matthew Beaton, Secretary of Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs; Barbara Kates-Garnick, Professor of Practice at The Fletcher School and former Undersecretary of Energy for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts; Daniel L. Sosland, President, Acadia Center

WHERE: Alumnae Hall, Tufts University, 40 Talbot Ave, Medford, MA 02155

WHEN: January 11, 2018 10 a.m.- 4 p.m.

A complete agenda and list of speakers is available here.

Media Contacts:

Lindsay Hammes, Communications and PR Specialist, The Fletcher School, 617-627-2447

Krysia Wazny, Communications Director, Acadia Center, 617-742-0054

New Regional Initiative — RGGI for Transportation Sector

“Working together across state and party lines, states can improve their transportation systems, reduce pollution, and improve mobility and transportation choice for consumers,’’ said Daniel Sosland, president of the Acadia Center, a nonprofit working for clean energy.

Read the full article from NJ Spotlight here.