ROCKPORT, Maine – The nine member states of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative plan to lower the program’s greenhouse gas pollution cap by 45 percent, the RGGI said Thursday.
Companies in RGGI states will be allowed to emit a total of about 91 million tons of carbon dioxide annually under the new rules, a 44.8 percent decrease from the previous emissions level of 165 million tons. The level will also decline 2.5 percent annually from 2014 to 2020 for an additional 17.5 percent cut to the cap, according to the release.
RGGI estimates that re-setting the gas pollution cap at 91 million tons will deliver $3.9 billion in additional funding for states to invest in programs that cut pollution, save consumers money and boost the regional economies.
“Today RGGI states showed leadership that will resound nationwide,” Peter Shattuck, director of market initiatives at Environment Northeast, said in a statement. “RGGI states have created an effective and economically beneficial model for cutting climate pollution that can and should be replicated across the country.”
According to a release, since RGGI’s inception, electricity prices across the region have dropped by 10 percent. The group also pointed to independent analysis, which showed that in RGGI’s first two-and-a-half years, the program raised more than $952 million for states, which was reinvested in energy efficiency and other programs.
According to RGGI, states also announced a number of changes, including: a new mechanism to reduce price volatility and a program to “offset” emissions by increasing carbon sequestration in forests.
“RGGI has demonstrated that emissions can come down rapidly and affordably in the electric sector, and we applaud the states for building on the program’s success and committing to further efforts to address one of the main sources contributing to climate change,” said Environment New England President Daniel Sosland in prepared remarks.
Correction: ENE (Environment Northeast) was originally listed as Environment New England.