By PBN Staff
By PBN Staff
PROVIDENCE – Emissions of carbon dioxide and other pollutants have declined 29 percent in participating Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative states since the program’s launch five years ago, according to a report released Tuesday by the nonprofit climate-change advocacy group Environment Northeast.
The RGGI is a cooperative regulatory program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and enforce U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulations that includes Rhode Island, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Vermont.
Since RGGI went into effect, member states have been able to reduce emissions faster than the rest of the country, ENE said, while outpacing economic growth outside the region. As states consider options to comply with EPA regulations, RGGI’s market-based flexibility and state control over revenue allocation will likely increase interest in joining or replicating the program in other states, the report concluded.
“RGGI has demonstrated the effectiveness of a regional, market-based approach to reducing carbon pollution, providing a model, cost-effective mechanism to meet federal requirements,” said Peter Shattuck, director of market initiatives at ENE and lead author of the report.
In addition to cutting greenhouse gas emissions 29 percent over the last five years, RGGI member states also reduced hazardous criteria emissions from power plants and contributed to an 8 percent decrease in electricity prices across the region, ENE said.
In 2013 alone, carbon dioxide emissions totaled 86.6 million tons in the RGGI member states, 47.6 percent less than the original 2013 cap of 165 million tons and a decline of 4.9 percent from the newly adjusted cap of 91 million tons.
RGGI has previously projected that carbon dioxide pollution from power plants in the nine RGGI states will fall to half of 2005 levels by 2020.
Environment Northeast is a nonprofit organization that researches, develops and advocates innovative policies to tackle the region’s environmental challenges while promoting sustainable economies.
To view the complete ENE report, visit www.env-ne.org.