Cap-and-economic-growth, indeed

That is an editorial headline in today’s Baltimore Sun about a new study demonstrating the economic benefits of the Region Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) cap-and-trade program.

The money quote:

“There are any number of lessons that can be drawn from this. But perhaps the most important is that as a market-based solution, a cap-and-trade program, can work well and deliver real economic value to participating states.’

The New York Times covered the findings under the headline, ‘Carbon Trading Initiative a Success, Study Says’ and illustrates how the program has saved money for consumers, stimulated job growth and kept money in local economies in the six New England states, New York, New Jersey, Maryland and Delaware.

The bottom line: the investment of revenue from RGGI allowance auctions have yielded $1.6 billion in net economic value to the regional economy and generated 16,000 jobs.

What’s more, every household and business in the region can expect to benefit from the RGGI system: The study estimates that the average home will save $25, and that owners of commercial and industrial buildings that use a lot more energy per meter than homeowners will save $181 and $2,493, respectively.

Other key findings:

  • Customers are expected to save nearly $1.1 billion on electricity bills, and an additional $174 million on natural gas and heating oil bills, for a total of $1.3 billion in savings over the next decade through installation of energy efficiency measures using funding from RGGI auction proceeds to date
  • Reduced demand for fossil fuels keeps more than $765 million in the local economy

Power plant owners experience $1.6 billion in lower revenue over time, although they overall had higher revenues than costs as a result of RGGI during the 2009-2011 period.

The new study offers a taste of what California, which just unanimously approved its cap-and-trade program that goes into effect in 2013, can look forward to.  The Golden State has already experienced a dramatic increase in clean technology investments and jobs in the five years since our climate change law passed.


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