Climate 411

The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative is at a critical juncture. Here are 3 ways it can put states on the path to meet our climate goals

Since the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) began well over a decade ago, this group of Eastern states has successfully slashed climate pollution from power plants in half, generated substantial health benefits and raised $3 billion in proceeds that have been invested back into states.

Now this program, which puts a declining cap on power sector pollution, is at a crucial juncture that will determine its impact this decade.

Since February of 2021, RGGI Inc, the organization that oversees RGGI has been conducting its third program review — a process meant to assess RGGI’s successes, impacts and potential design changes. Given the opportunities offered by major investments in the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), along with the fast-approaching 2030 deadline for the U.S. to reduce emissions by at least 50%, the stakes for the current program review are high.

EDF submitted public comment on the review, urging RGGI Inc to take several key steps as it plans the trajectory of RGGI through 2030 and beyond. First, RGGI Inc should align the program’s emissions cap with national and state climate commitments. Second, RGGI should include an interim target of at least 80% emissions reductions by 2030 to ensure that states take near-term action that lines up with where the power sector needs to be to achieve climate targets. Third, RGGI Inc should create a pathway to cover imported electricity as a means to mitigate emissions leakage (a situation where emissions from non-RGGI states may increase).

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Posted in Carbon Markets, Cities and states, Greenhouse Gas Emissions / Comments are closed

Governor Youngkin’s RGGI rollback is wrongheaded and unpopular

Richmond, Virginia

Photo credit: Canva

Since joining the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) in 2020, Virginia has started capping harmful pollution from power plants, growing clean energy jobs across the state and providing more than $500 million in investments for flood resilience in communities and money-saving energy efficiency in households.

But since his first day in office, Governor Youngkin has been determined to pull Virginia out of this proven climate program that has been implemented by Democrat and Republican governors alike.

The administration’s rollback threatens progress right as the threats from climate change – and opportunities from clean energy investment – are clearer than ever for the Commonwealth.

Virginia’s Air Pollution Control Board voted in favor of continuing with the withdrawal, moving the process forward, but two major roadblocks continue to stand in the way: The overwhelming majority of Virginians said they oppose the repeal, and neither the Youngkin administration’s Air Pollution Control Board nor Department of Environmental Quality has the legal authority to exit the program.

The most recent steps in the RGGI repeal process shine a spotlight on how misguided and out-of-touch the administration’s climate rollback is.

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Posted in Cities and states, Policy, Setting the Facts Straight / Comments are closed