Major Step Taken by NY & Northeast States to Fight Climate Change
ALBANY—The nine-state coalition known as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) has just announced reforms that will lower emissions of climate-altering pollution from power plants from 165 million tons per year to 91 million tons starting in 2014. The changes are also expected to significantly increase the value of pollution credits sold to polluters, which will result in new revenue for investment in renewable energy and a modernized energy infrastructure.
The following response comes from David VanLuven, Policy Director for Environmental Advocates NY:
“With these reforms, states looking for ways to fight climate change can now look to the Northeast for answers.
“Since the destruction of Hurricane Sandy, the public has been waiting to see what steps Governor Cuomo and other leaders would take to fight climate change. Reducing the cap on carbon pollution is a significant step in the right direction. RGGI makes power plants pay to pollute, so these reforms set a clear bar for reducing pollution and place a renewed focus on investments to New York’s aging energy infrastructure.
“Given that New York is the most significant polluter in the Northeast, leadership from Governor Cuomo and his administration was critical to making RGGI stronger. And the benefit of that leadership is clear: through 2020, New York could raise $850 million for investment to further reduce carbon pollution, improve energy efficiency, and increase renewable energy generation. Across all nine RGGI states, $2.2 billion may be raised.
“We applaud Governor Cuomo’s leadership in making these reforms a reality, as well as for recognizing that this is just the beginning of an important journey.
“Environmental Advocates looks forward to working with Governor Cuomo and the Legislature to protect New Yorkers against the impacts of climate change by decreasing our emissions and overhauling New York’s aging power system with modern technologies. Beyond strengthening RGGI, two key steps that must be taken are increasing power generation with renewable energy, and guiding development out of dangerous flood-prone areas such as wetlands.”