Northeast Governors Urged to Strengthen Cap on Global Warming Emissions from Power Plants

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Stronger Program will Accelerate Progress on Clean Energy

Environment America

With state officials poised to propose major changes to the Northeast Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI); the nation’s first cap on carbon pollution from power plants, environmental organizations and clean energy advocates are calling on Governor and state officials in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states to embrace a cap on power plant emissions that will reduce emissions 20% by the end of the decade.

““RGGI has been a key element of the region’s strategy to shift to clean energy and reduce pollution from fossil fuels. ” said Rob Sargent, Energy Program Director for Environment America, a federation of state environmental groups. “Even before Superstorm Sandy, the public’s concern about climate impacts from a warming planet was on the rise. Now, it is even clearer that the Northeast states must maintain their leadership role by ensuring that RGGI substantially reduces carbon pollution.”

In comments submitted to state energy and environmental officials last week, advocates expressed disappointment with several recent proposals to strengthen RGGI that were recently unveiled. The comments noted that even the strongest option fails to assure significant emission reductions by 2020. The comments pointed to analyses done by the RGGI state leaders, showing that by jumpstarting more investments in clean energy, a stronger cap would be better for the region’s economy. The comments reinforced the message in a letter from more than 300 organizations and businesses sent to the RGGI state Governors urging them to: 

  • Adjust the RGGI cap to ensure that it reduces emissions 20% below current levels by 2020 and is on track to reduce emissions by at least 80% by 2050
  • Ensure that the revenues from the RGGI program are invested in energy efficiency and renewable energy programs that will save energy, lower costs, create local jobs and reduce pollution
  • Prevent loopholes that will undermine the effectiveness of the program in achieving its emission reduction targets.

“Experience shows that taking action to reduce carbon pollution in the region has significant economic benefits for the region,” said Sargent. “The RGGI state governors must harness the strong public and stakeholder support for bold action on climate and clean energy by supporting a strong program.”