Reduce Pollution by Lowering Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative Carbon Emissions Cap

Target: Governors of Regional Greenhouse Initiative Member States

Goal: Reduce greenhouse gas pollution by reducing carbon emissions cap

Later this month, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) will undergo a significant overhaul, potentially including a reduction to its carbon emissions cap. The first of its kind in the United States, RGGI is a regional cap and trade system designed to reduce carbon emissions from power plants by 10 percent by 2018. Created in 2009, it consists of nine member states in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic. With reform just around the corner, now is the time for RGGI to lower its emissions cap.

In its short run, RGGI has been effective. It has succeeded in its goal of reducing emissions, which are at a record low of 91 million tons annually, and raised $1.1 billion in revenue for the region. Moreover, investments in green energy have increased substantially. However, despite its overall success, state revenue from carbon credits is less than initially anticipated. This is in part because current emissions are 45 percent below RGGI’s annual cap of 165 million tons, thereby reducing companies’ need to purchase carbon credits.

To address the issue, RGGI is considering implementing a lower emissions cap. This is a great step that will bolster the initiative. However, according to analysis by member states, RGGI’s lowest proposed cap of 91 million tons would only minimally reduce emissions from their current levels. Therefore, in order to increase the program’s environmental impact and raise additional revenue, environmental organizations, like Environmental Entrepreneurs, a group of environmentally conscious business leaders, and Environment America recommend establishing an emissions cap that would reduce regional power plant emissions 20 percent by 2020.

Lowering the emissions cap would help reduce dangerous greenhouse gas pollution, improve the economy, and position the region as a leader in creating a clean energy future. Sign the petition below and urge RGGI members to strengthen this landmark initiative and reduce the cap in order to achieve a 20 percent reduction in power plant carbon emissions by 2020.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Governor,

The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative has been a tremendous success, reducing power plant carbon emissions to a record low of 91 million tons annually and creating 1.1 billion dollars in revenue in its short run.

I applaud your participation in a pioneering program that helps protect our environment and bolster state and regional economies. With reform just around the corner, now is the time double our efforts and make RGGI even more effective by lowering the emissions cap.

Current emissions levels are well below the RGGI annual cap of 165 million tons, and only 53 percent of allowances were sold during the most recent auction. The program is therefore not achieving its full potential for generating revenue. Additionally, current proposals to lower the emissions cap would maintain greenhouse emissions at their current levels or bring them to only slightly lower levels. Thus, in order to increase the program’s environmental impact and raise additional revenue, environmental organizations, like Environmental Entrepreneurs, a group of environmentally conscious business leaders, and Environment America recommend establishing an emissions cap that would reduce regional power plant emissions 20 percent by 2020.

Lowering the emissions cap would help reduce dangerous greenhouse gas pollution, improve the economy, and position the region as a leader in creating a clean energy future. I urge you to strengthen this landmark initiative and reduce the cap in order to achieve a 20 percent reduction in carbon emissions from power plants by 2020.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: chang’r via Flickr

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Signatures

  • Janice Thompson
  • Susan Carnevale
  • Luigi Carnevale
  • Beth MacDonald
  • Robert Bartlett
  • L. J. Lanfranchi
  • Ginger Hill
  • Scott Schenk
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