The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) is a central strategy in the Northeastern states’ efforts to protect the region from global warming. The program, which took effect in 2009, has succeeded in cutting carbon dioxide emissions and demonstrating the effectiveness of cap-and-trade as a global warming solution while helping to sustain a growing regional economy. Now, nine Northeastern states are considering strengthening RGGI to drive additional reductions in global warming pollution. Strengthening RGGI would be a “win-win” for the Northeast, making an important contribution toward protecting the region from global warming while speeding the transition to a clean energy future.
After another year in which many parts of the country were hit by hurricanes, scorching heat, devastating wildfires, crippling drought, severe storms and record flooding, a new Environment Maine Research & Policy Center report finds that weather-related disasters are affecting hundreds of millions of Americans and documents how global warming could lead to certain extreme weather events becoming even more common or more severe in the future.
Wind Power for a Cleaner America: Reducing Global Warming Pollution, Cutting Air Pollution, and Saving Water analyzes data from the U.S. Department of Energy and the wind industry to quantify the environmental benefits from current wind generation in Maine as well as the additional benefits in 2016 if wind development continues at a pace comparable to that of recent years.
As America struggles to revitalize our economy, create jobs, secure an energy independent future, and protect our communities and wildlife from the dangers of climate change, one energy source offers a golden opportunity to power our homes and businesses without creating more pollution – Atlantic offshore wind.
Over the last decade, northeastern states have built a track record of successful action to reduce global warming pollution. By working together across state lines and partisan divides—and developing innovative new policies to hasten the transition to a clean energy economy—the Northeast has succeeded in cutting emissions while safeguarding the region’s economic health.
Between 2000 and 2009, the 10 northeastern states1 that participate in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) cut per capita carbon dioxide emissions 20 percent faster than the rest of the nation—even as the region’s gross product per capita grew 87 percent faster than the rest of the United States. The region is on pace to achieve the ambitious emission reduction goals set over the last decade. Much more remains to be done to protect the region from the impacts of global warming, but the experience of the past decade provides hope that smart policies and an ethic of cooperation can result in a rapid reduction in global warming pollution even as the region’s economy continues to grow. Northeastern states have been pioneers in the effort to reduce fossil fuel pollution, leading the way in demonstrating effective policies to promote a clean energy economy and reduce emissions.
Environment Maine Research and Policy Center is part of The Public Interest Network, which operates and supports organizations committed to a shared vision of a better world and a strategic approach to social change.