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
“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.
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
Daniel Sosland, president of Acadia Center, a nonprofit: “The Northeast region has successfully proven the benefits of pursuing a clean energy, low polluting economy: states have reduced climate pollution while enjoying greater economic growth, job creation and public health benefits. This significant progress on clean energy under both Republican and Democratic leadership at the state and federal level serves as a prime example of what is possible across the nation.”