CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (December 19, 2017)—The nine states that make up the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI)—the nation’s first carbon cap-and-trade program—released an updated rule today that commits the states to collectively cutting carbon dioxide emissions from coal- and gas-fired power plants an additional 30 percent between 2020 and 2030.
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.
“It’s heartening to see these states demonstrating bipartisan leadership when it comes to addressing climate change, especially as the Trump administration dismantles federal policies. The RGGI states recognize that lowering the cap on these emissions will mean 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. The fact that the states tightened the emissions cap and that the partnership of states is growing, with New Jersey and Virginia both potentially joining, shows that the Trump administration is out of step with the wishes of the people.
“While this initiative moves us closer to a clean energy economy, more needs to be done. States should feel emboldened to adopt additional complementary policies to further address heat-trapping emissions in the power sector. And they should go beyond the power sector. It’s particularly encouraging to see Northeast and mid-Atlantic states moving toward developing a regional plan to cut transportation sector emissions—the largest source of global warming pollution in the region.
“As the region continues to address climate change, it’s imperative that communities on the frontlines of climate change impacts and global warming pollution have a say in how funds—from RGGI or other programs—get distributed, and fully enjoy the program’s benefits.”