STATEMENT: Massachusetts calls for stronger regional pollution limits; New York stands to benefit and should join in

Media Contacts
Heather Leibowitz

Environment New York Research and Policy Center

New York, NY — Officials in Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker’s administration announced their support today for strengthening the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a program that reduces global warming pollution from power plants in nine Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic states, including New York. 

Officials from New York and the other states participating in the program are currently undertaking a review of RGGI, and are expected to propose changes to the program in the coming months.

Massachusetts announced support for doubling the rate at which emissions decline under RGGI, from 2.5 percent per year to 5 percent per year, from 2020 to 2030. Analysis indicates that the RGGI states will need to reduce power plant pollution at this pace in order to achieve their big-picture goals on climate change. New York is aiming to reduce warming pollution by at least 40% percent by 2030.

Heather Leibowitz, Director of Environment New York, issued the following statement:

“We are thrilled to see Massachusetts support accelerating the fight against climate change. This is the kind of ambition we need to cultivate in order to protect our communities from the worst impacts of global warming. By joining together across party and state lines, we can reduce dangerous pollution and achieve the promise of the Paris Climate Agreement that the world negotiated last December.

“The need to act on climate is only becoming more clear and more urgent. This July was the hottest month ever recorded, and we’re on track for 2016 to be the hottest year as well. If we continue down the path we’re on, communities all across New York will see an increase in extreme storms and life-threatening heat waves.

“The good news is that we have the resources and the technology to move quickly towards 100 percent renewable energy and avoid the worst impacts of climate change.

“Here in New York, we have a strong track record of leadership on climate and clean energy. Through our experience with RGGI, we understand that we can reduce dangerous pollution and create widespread benefits for citizens and businesses at the same time. Since RGGI was designed in 2005, it has helped reduce warming pollution by almost 50 percent. At the same time, the program generated $951 million for New York helping to fund clean energy and consumer benefit programs, and boosting our economy

“Any changes to RGGI must be agreed upon unanimously by participating states. We urge Governor Andrew Cuomo to support stronger pollution limits by doubling the strength of RGGI.”