On Sandy 100-day anniversary, stakeholders call on Gov. Chafee for global warming action

Media Contacts
Channing Jones

Environment Rhode Island

One hundred days after Superstorm Sandy, clean energy businesses and organizations in Rhode Island submitted a letter to Governor Chafee urging improvements to the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), the Northeast region’s region’s landmark program to reduce global warming emissions from power plants. The letter called for a strengthened emissions cap, strict clean energy standards, and loophole prevention.

“We ask that you work to ensure that Rhode Island and the Northeast maintain progress in efforts to shift to clean energy and reduce fossil fuel pollution,” the letter reads. “The increased incidence of extreme weather, the hottest year on record, and the wakeup call we received from Superstorm Sandy all remind us of the urgent need to reduce the pollution that contributes to climate change.”

As the country’s first program of its kind, RGGI serves as a successful model that limits global warming emissions from power plants in the Northeast, sells permits to emit carbon, and uses the revenues to invest in clean energy programs. However, as the program undergoes reform, stakeholders are concerned that the current emissions cap does not go far enough to reduce global warming pollution and develop clean energy.

Today’s letter was signed by eight Rhode Island clean energy businesses along with statewide environmental groups including Environment Rhode Island, Conservation Law Foundation, Sierra Club, and Clean Water Action. The letter’s proposed improvements include an effective RGGI cap “that ensures emissions reductions 20 percent below current levels by 2020, and which puts us on track to reduce emissions by at least 80 percent by 2050.”

“More than any time in recent history, the public is focused on the climate impacts from a warming planet,” said Channing Jones, Program Associate from Environment Rhode Island. “In a low lying coastal state like Rhode Island, we can’t afford to delay action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions wherever possible. We must start by strengthening the RGGI program to achieve the emissions reductions science tells us we need to avoid the worst effects of global warming.”