CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (August 23, 2017)—The nine states that make up the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI)—the nation’s first carbon cap-and-trade program—today committed to cutting carbon dioxide emissions from coal- and gas-fired power plants in their states by an additional 30 percent between 2020 and 2030, putting them on a path to cut emissions 70 percent below 2005 levels overall by 2030. The states also agreed to take other actions to strengthen the program by ensuring a higher and more predictable price on carbon emissions.
Below is a statement by Ken Kimmell, president of the Cambridge-based Union of Concerned Scientists. Kimmell is also the former commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection and Board Chair of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.
“The northeast and mid-Atlantic states continue to show bipartisan leadership on cutting emissions of dangerous heat-trapping gases and transitioning to clean energy sources, which is particularly welcomed given the Trump administration’s abdication on addressing climate change. The RGGI states’ decision to lower the cap on fossil fuel plant emissions means cleaner air, a faster transition to renewable energy, job growth and even lower electric bills as states use proceeds from the program to invest in energy efficiency.
“While this initiative moves us closer to a clean energy economy, more needs to be done. Climate change and its resulting impacts are worsening at an alarming pace, and strengthening RGGI does not address the largest source of emissions in the region—the transportation sector. We encourage these same states to build upon the success of RGGI and set their sights on a regional solution to transportation sector emissions. States should also feel emboldened to adopt additional complementary policies to address climate change as the RGGI program is intended to be the floor, not the ceiling.
“Finally, as the region continues to strengthen the RGGI program, it’s imperative that communities on the frontlines of climate change impacts and global warming pollution have a say in how program funds are distributed, and can fully enjoy the program’s benefits.”
RGGI is comprised of these states: Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont.