Full Title: The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative: Performance To-Date and the Path Ahead
Author(s): Peter Shattuck
Publication Date: 5/2014
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During five plus years of operations, RGGI has helped Northeast and Mid-Atlantic States1 achieve significant reductions in emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other dangerous pollutants from the electric power sector. At the same time the program has generated significant economic benefits in the region.
RGGI demonstrates that emissions can be reduced faster and at lower cost than typically assumed. Fuel- switching, improved energy efficiency, and growing renewable energy output have caused emissions to drop by 29% since RGGI launched,i while electricity prices are lower than they were before RGGI took effect. The rate of pollution reductions continues to outpace expectations, with emissions falling 5% below a more stringent cap set just last year.i The fact that CO2 pollution is already dropping below the new cap reinforces a historic trend of underestimating the capacity of flexible markets to meet environmental goals. Against this backdrop of declining emissions, RGGI state economies have outpaced the rest of country, showing that the link between economic growth and emissions has broken in the region and demonstrating that we can address the threat of climate change while promoting continuing prosperity.