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The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that Governor of Pennsylvania signed an Executive Order last week committing the state to implement a cap-and-trade program (known as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative or RGGI) for carbon dioxide emissions from power plants joining 10 other states in the northeast that are members — Virginia is now the lone holdout. By 2020, Pennsylvania will come up with a carbon dioxide cap that limits emissions within the state from electric power generators who will each receive an individual carbon budget, and after that, if a power plant wants to exceed its emissions budget it has to purchase “allowances” to pollute from other plants who have extra allowances to sell — thus putting a “price on carbon” pollution.
Why This Matters: Pennsylvania is the first major fossil-fuel producing state to join the RGGI. This regional cap-and-trade program has been a true success — from 2005-2015 the initiative had reduced power-sector carbon dioxide pollution by 45% as well as provided $2.31 billion in lifetime energy cost savings to more than 161,000 households and 6,000 businesses that participated in programs funded by the initiative. And the economy in the region has grown at the same time. The RGGI is an excellent model of a market-based climate solution that could be replicated in other regions of the U.S. should a Democrat beat President Trump in 2020.
“”If we want a Pennsylvania that is habitable for our children and grandchildren, where temperatures aren’t in the 90s in October … where flooding doesn’t destroy homes and businesses over and over again, we need to get serious right now about addressing the climate crisis.”
Pennsylvania is second only to Texas in natural gas production, and third behind Wyoming and West Virginia in coal. Because it is market-based, the RGGI, in essence, puts a price on carbon in the electricity marketplace. As a result, the true cost of carbon is actually charged for its use, but it also is likely to result in a reduction in demand for those fuels that emit greenhouse gasses — and coal is expected to take the biggest hit at first, according to Inside Climate News.
Yesterday at the annual meeting of the United Nations General Assembly, Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged to achieve “carbon neutrality before 2060” with the aim of hitting peak emissions before 2030. China had choice words for the Trump administration and its complete lack of international leadership on climate change action. Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang […]
The world’s richest one percent cause more than double the CO2 of the poorest 50% according to a new study from Oxfam. From 1990 to 2015, CO2 emissions rose by 60%; experts saw the wealthiest one percent’s emissions rise three times more than those of the poorest half during that period.
Why this matters: While the wealthiest indulge in luxuries that contribute more to climate change, a federal report found that the poor will be among the earliest victims of climate crises and will be impacted the most.
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