August 24, 2017
CT Green Guide

CT, other states agree to tighter emissions cap

Contributed | Jimmy Jeong
Contributed | Jimmy Jeong
The 520-megawatt Bridgeport Energy plant is one of 16 Connecticut plants required to participate in the RGGI program.

Connecticut and the eight other states that are a part of a regional emissions trading program said they have reached an agreement on emissions reductions over the 2020-2030 decade.

Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) states this week agreed on a plan that would extend the program by a decade, reducing carbon pollution by 132 million tons -- the amount of pollution generated by 28 million cars in a year.

The plan, which is not yet final, calls for a 30 percent reduction in emissions over those 10 years. The regional cap would amount to 75.1 million tons of carbon dioxide in 2021, declining nearly 2.3 million tons per year after that.

RGGI said in a statement that the agreement brings it a step closer to the conclusion of a review process that has lasted more than a year.

Launched in 2009, RGGI has already almost cut emissions in half. The new cap agreed to this week is 65 percent lower than it was in 2009.

Gov. Dannel Malloy praised the agreement and criticized the Trump administration and climate change skeptics.

"The success of the RGGI program – and the proposals to make it even more effective – stand in sharp contrast to the Trump administration's shortsighted and wholesale retreat on climate issues," Malloy said in a statement Wednesday. "Despite what deniers say, there is no doubt that climate change is real and is happening, and that the burning of fossil fuels contributes significantly to the dangers we face. No matter the mood in Washington, Connecticut and the other RGGI states will continue moving forward with this highly effective and innovative regional initiative, and with other efforts to support energy efficiency and the deployment of clean energy systems within our borders."

Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Commissioner Rob Klee said the deal would "ensure a strong future for the program while continuing to demonstrate that states can successfully reduce carbon pollution while supporting economic growth and grid resiliency."

Environmental groups also hailed the deal.

"Strengthening RGGI is one of the most effective and important steps to tackle climate pollution," Peter Shattuck, director of Acadia Center's Clean Energy Initiative, said in a statement. "Market based policies unleash the innovation and investment needed to achieve state climate targets and the goals of the Paris Agreement, and RGGI has shown just how well smart climate policy works."

Connecticut has received RGGI auction proceeds of $155 million, most of which have been invested in energy efficiency projects and renewable energy.

Read more

RGGI eyes carbon-cap reduction

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