Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Tighten Emissions Rules in the Northeast? RGGI Has a Big Decision

Members of the 9-state cap-and-trade program talk tough on climate change.  What they decide now will reflect on states’ ability to counter Trump’s climate rollbacks.

States in RGGI, the Northeast's Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (Credit: Paul Horn / InsideClimate News) Click to Enlarge.
Nine northeastern states that broke ground with the nation's first cap-and-trade program are nearing a decision on whether to seek even deeper greenhouse gas emissions cuts.  It will be an important test of whether state governments will be able to counteract the Trump administration's retreat from climate policies.

The member states of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) are expected to unveil their decision in the coming weeks, following a 20-month review process that involved public meetings and intense private negotiations among states with differing energy mixes and political landscapes.

In three of those states—Maine, New Hampshire, and Maryland—the Republican governors or their appointees have expressed concerns over the potential costs of deeper emissions cuts. If the rest of the RGGI states push for deeper cuts, any of these three could decide to follow in the steps of New Jersey's GOP governor, Chris Christie, who withdrew his state from RGGI in 2011.

Across the compact, however, there is bipartisan support for increasing RGGI's ambition. Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, a Republican, and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, are the most outspoken advocates of more stringent goals.

It is possible that the more ambitious states will take a stand that causes a rift in the RGGI nine—if only temporarily, said Mark Kresowik, eastern region deputy director of the Sierra Club.

Read more at Tighten Emissions Rules in the Northeast?  RGGI Has a Big Decision

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