Northeast, mid-Atlantic state - Smart Energy Decisions

GHG Emissions, Regulation, Utilities, Regulation  -  August 25, 2017

States to extend, increase cap-and-trade program

New York and the eight other states participating in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative have announced a proposal to update their efforts to lower carbon pollution by reducing the cap on power plant emissions an additional 30% below 2020 levels by 2030.

With this program update, the regional cap in 2030 will be 65% below the 2009 starting level, according to an Aug. 23 announcement from New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office. The governor in January called on the RGGI states — Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont — to further strengthen the program, which he says provides environmental, health and economic benefits to all participants. 

"New York leads the nation's efforts in strengthening climate security, and through the RGGI program and this latest bipartisan proposal to reduce emissions even further, the investment of proceeds will continue to support and create thousands of jobs and reduce electricity bills for residents," Gov. Cuomo said in a statement. "RGGI's success exemplifies New York's commitment to protecting the people of this state by showing the world that we will cut pollution and improve health, while transforming our economy into one that is cleaner, greener, stronger, and more sustainable than ever before."

RGGI first formed the collaborative effort in 2005. In doing so, the states became part of the nation's first program to use an innovative market-based mechanism to cap and cost-effectively reduce the carbon dioxide emissions that cause climate change. RGGI has helped Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states achieve significant reductions in emissions of carbon dioxide and other pollutants from the electric power sector.

Thus far, RGGI contributed to a nearly 50% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions from affected power plants in New York, and a 90% reduction in coal-fired power generation in the state. To date, New York has generated more than $1 billion in RGGI proceeds, which help fund energy efficiency, clean energy and emission reduction programs.

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