New Hampshire to Enjoy Economic Gain with Strong Emissions Program

Media Contacts
Jessica O'Hare

New Hampshire, other states urged to follow through on commitment to reduce power plant emissions

Environment New Hampshire

New Hampshire with ten Northeast States, from Maryland to Maine, can reduce carbon emissions, known to cause climate change, and grow their economies, according to a report released today by Environment New Hampshire. One year after the New Hampshire Legislature rejected an effort to pull the state out of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), the report comes as New Hampshire joins eight other states in considering how to improve the climate program.

“In the wake of Winter Storm Nemo, Hurricane Sandy and Hurricane Irene, New Hampshire must double-down on its commitment to lead our country in reducing the pollution that’s warming the planet and changing our climate, said Jessica O’Hare of Environment New Hampshire.  

The report: ‘Win-Win: The Critical Role of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative in Protecting the Northeast From Global Warming and Moving the Nation Toward a Clean Energy Future,” shows that New Hampshire can stand to benefit from an improved RGGI. Meanwhile, our New England neighbors have a strong and firm commitment to energy efficiency and reducing carbon emissions. New Hampshire ranks eighteen in the nation, according to the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE)—only Maine ranks lower in the Northeast. [1]

The report finds that between 2000 and 2010, New Hampshire’s economy grew by 7 percent per capita and reduced its emissions by 9 percent per capita. It also finds that other New England states are more effectively reducing emissions, while seeing greater economic growth. Recent analyses have also shown RGGI has produced a $1.6 billion economic boost to the region through 2011 that strengthening RGGI could produce an additional $8 billion in economic benefits. [2]

Environment New Hampshire’s report, points out that New Hampshire, and the rest of the world, are in a race against time, citing studies showing that 100-year coastal floods are now predicted to occur every 15 to 35 years. The changing climate threatens 11,000 New Hampshire residents living in coastal flood zones, and could lead to $1.8 billion in storm-related economic losses by mid-century. [3]

Ten Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states were part of the original Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a pioneering agreement to cap carbon pollution from power plants. In February, New Hampshire and eight other states announced a new agreement to make deeper cuts in power plant carbon emissions that would lead to a 20 percent reduction in those emissions over the next decade.  States, including New Hampshire are now revising their rules in order to carry out the agreement.  

Environment New Hampshire urged our decision makers in New Hampshire to follow through on a commitment to strengthen RGGI by quickly adopting strong rules to lower emissions from power plants.  But, also urged taking more action including:

•    Northeast states should adopt limits on global warming pollution that go beyond the electricity sector, including transportation and heating fuels. This could include expanding RGGI to other sectors.
•    More states should join RGGI.
•    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency should move forward on limiting global warming pollution from existing power plants in all states.

“Strengthening programs such as RGGI is a win-win for New Hampshire,” said Jessica O’Hare. “Our report shows that pursuing strong reductions in emissions can help grow our clean energy economy. New Hampshire is ready to commit to improving our climate and energy programs.”

[1] Ben Foster, et al., American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy, The 2012 Energy Efficiency Scorecard, October 2012.

[2] Paul J. Hibbard, et al., Analysis Group, The Economic Impacts of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative on Ten Northeast and Mid-Atlantic States, 15 November 2011.

[3] George Backus, et al., Sandia National Laboratories, Assessing the Near-Term Risk of Climate Uncertainty: Interdependencies among the U.S. States, May 2010.