RGGI states propose to cut power plant emissions another 30%
The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a coalition of nine New England and Mid-Atlantic states, has proposed a 30% reduction in its greenhouse gases emissions cap.
The proposal would set the regional cap at 75,147,784 tons of carbon dioxide in 2021, which will decline by 2.275 million tons of CO2 in each succeeding year, resulting in a total 30% reduction in the regional cap from 2020 to 2030.
RGGI will seek stakeholder comment at a Sept. 25 public meeting then, after further review the RGGI will follow their specific approval processes.
RGGI’s proposed cap reduction was widely praised by environmental advocates such as the Natural Resources Defense Council, which hailed it as an affirmation of RGGI’s leadership in “the face of the Trump administration’s abandonment of climate progress.”
The NRDC noted that the announcement means that by 2030 “at least 132 million more short tons of carbon pollution will be avoided, equivalent to avoiding one-year’s worth of emissions from over 25 million cars.”
InsideClimate News noted the move was widely seen as a test case of states' commitments to cut emissions as the Trump Administration rolls back or replace Obama-era climate regulations, including the Clean Power Plan.
If the proposed cap is put in place, 2030 power-sector emissions will be 65% lower than in 2009, RGGI’s first year of operation.The proposed reduction was part of a scheduled review of RGGI’s model and practices that was put in place in 2012 when the organization held its last review. In that review, RGGI reduced its cap 45%.
Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont participate in RGGI.
In addition to the proposed cap reduction, the RGGI states proposed an Emissions Containment Reserve. The ECR would automatically lower RGGI’s cap, by up to 10% a year, whenever allowance prices fall below expected levels. The ECR is designed to address the fact that carbon reductions have consistently cost less than expected.
By providing a mechanism to capture more of these low-cost emissions reduction opportunities, this innovative tool – the first-of-its-kind in emissions trading markets – could potentially get to the even deeper emissions reductions that NRDC and other environmental groups urged the states to adopt.
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified NRDC as Natural Resources Defense Fund
- Natural Resource Defense Council RGGI Agrees to Cut Power Plant Pollution by Another 30%
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