With 2016 finishing as the hottest year on record and extreme weather happening all around us we need to do much more to tackle the climate crisis. We must quickly shift away from dirty fuels like coal, oil and gas and towards 100 percent renewable energy. The Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic states are leading the country by participating in the best regional clean air and climate protection program known as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). Our nine states have joined together in this regional system that has helped slash global warming pollution from power plants in half and invested $2.5 billion in clean energy over the last decade. As you review this successful program we ask you to double its strength, cutting pollution in half again by 2030.
By limiting carbon pollution from power plants, requiring emitters to buy permits to pollute and investing the revenues in energy efficiency and renewable energy, RGGI has helped participating states to meet our environmental and energy challenges and protected public health while curbing dependence on dirty fuels and saving consumers money. The program has already achieved cleaner air, prevented 600 premature deaths, 9,000 asthma attacks, and 43,000 lost work days – health benefits worth more than $5.7 billion. It has also realized $3 billion in economic benefits while creating more than 30,000 job years
Doubling RGGI’s strength through 2030 would help reduce our energy bills across the nine state region by more than $25 billion through 2030, while creating almost 60,000 new jobs per year, on average. At the same time, we must lead the way in ensuring that communities on the frontlines of the impacts of pollution and climate change have a say in how RGGI is implemented and how funds are distributed to ensure broad and equal opportunities to benefit.
The undersigned organizations, elected officials, businesses, health professionals and academics urge Governors to double the strength of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative to cut pollution in half again by 2030, address existing loopholes that could undermine the effectiveness of the program in achieving its emission reduction targets, and lead the country toward a clean energy future.
Together we can deliver clean air and a safe, healthy climate for us all.
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