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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.
by Amy Lupica, ODP Staff Writer Last Thursday, Congresswoman Teresa Leger Fernández (D-NM) introduced the Orphaned Wells Cleanup and Jobs Act of 2021 which would authorize nearly $8 billion in grant funding for abandoned oil and gas well cleanup projects across the nation. Methane emissions from abandoned wells threaten to derail President Biden’s climate goals, but dozens of […]
By Josh Freed, Senior Vice President for the Climate and Energy Program, Third Way For years, climate news has offered one of the best doomscrolling fixes, up there with the pandemic and Donald Trump’s assault on democracy. But we’ve finally entered an era when the good news on climate is starting to outweigh the […]
Special Presidential Envoy on Climate (or “SPEC”) Kerry is engaging with key nations this week in the run-up to the Global Summit in two weeks. In India yesterday he met with Prime Minister Narenda Modi, who reaffirmed his government’s commitment to its Paris pledges, including increasing its non-fossil fuel power capacity to 40% and substantially boosting forest cover to reduce CO2. Kerry visits Bangladesh today.
Why This Matters: Kerry is using these visits to try to elicit elevated commitments from other major emitters — China and India.
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