Northeast Governors Urged to Strengthen Climate Program

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Jessica O'Hare

Stronger RGGI will Accelerate Progress on Clean Energy

Environment New Hampshire

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 Governors 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 New Hampshire’s strategy to reduce pollution from fossil fuels, spur investments in energy conservation and lower energy bills,” said Jessica O’Hare, Advocate for Environment New Hampshire. “Even before Superstorm Sandy, the public’s concern about climate impacts from a warming planet was on the rise. RGGI is a great example of policy that addresses climate change, while stimulating economic growth.”

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 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.

“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,” said O’Hare