In this week’s commentary on WAMC Northeast Public Radio, Pace Energy & Climate Center Executive Director, Franz Litz, discusses the newly-created Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI).
RGGI is a program designed to reduce global warming pollution from power plants in 10 states, including New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Vermont. The initiative caps global warming pollution and gradually reduces the allowable level each year. Litz explains that “the RGGI program also charges the power plants for the carbon dioxide they put into the air. The proceeds from the program are collected by the states and are invested in energy efficiency and clean energy measures.”
The RGGI program has an impact on both the local and national economies. As Litz reports, “According to an independent study released this past fall by the Analysis Group, the RGGI program added $1.6 billion in economic value to the regional economy as compared to life without the program.” The program will save consumers nearly $1.3 billion in energy costs over the next decade by forcing plants to operate more efficiently. Additionally, 16,000 regional jobs have been created by RGGI.
Litz concludes, “There is no shortage of bad news when it comes to climate change. The positive stories are a little harder to find. Northeasterners can be proud of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.”