More than 70 companies and 20 institutional investors are urging Northeast and Mid-Atlantic governors to strengthen their efforts to reduce carbon emissions from the regions’ electric power sector.
The call comes as the governors of nine states — Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont — meet to decide on the extension of the cap-and-trade initiative known as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, or RGGI. An extension decision could be made as early as this summer.
“Continuing reductions beyond 2020 will provide certainty for companies to plan and invest for the future, make the region an attractive place to do business, and continue to lower electricity rates for consumers,” the company signatories write.
The companies and investors, which include Autodesk, Calvert Investments, Eileen Fisher, Pax World Asset Management, Seventh Generation, Staples, Inc., Stonyfield, Thornton Tomasetti, and VF Corporation, are asking the governors to tighten the electricity sector’s annual carbon emissions cap by five percent per year.
Click here to view an interactive map of the letter signatories by state.
The proposed scenario doubles the current 2.5-percent annual cap reduction rate and is more consistent with the power sector’s actual rate of carbon reductions since the initiative formally began in 2009.
“As a market-based carbon pricing scheme, RGGI has successfully demonstrated that it is possible to decouple carbon emissions from economic growth,” said Anne Kelly, senior policy and BICEP director at Ceres, the nonprofit sustainability group that organized the letter. “Strengthening RGGI beyond 2020 will provide companies and investors with the economic certainty that they need at the level of ambition that is needed to address the climate challenge. As today’s call from business demonstrates, tightening the emissions cap is a win-win for the economy and the planet.”
RGGI has helped to cut regional power-sector emissions by 30 percent while the regional economy grew over 24 percent, according to a new report from the Acadia Center. It has also helped to raise more than $2.5 billion in revenue for regional clean energy and energy efficiency projects, which have saved consumers billions of dollars on their energy bills and reduced electricity rates by an average of 2% or more.
Click here to learn more about RGGI.
“RGGI has reduced greenhouse gas emissions and improved the economies of the states it operates in,” said Julie Fox Gorte, Ph.D., Senior Vice President for Sustainable Investing at Pax World Management LLC. “There is no more effective way to demonstrate that both are not only possible, but compatible. If we are to avoid catastrophic climate change, RGGI needs to continue, and to get stronger.”
“RGGI has helped drive a 30% reduction in carbon emissions in our region since 2008, while also maintaining reliability and creating economic value in the NH economy,” said Lisa Drake, Director of Sustainability Innovation at Stonyfield. “Codifying the trend of 5% annual emission reductions in the RGGI region will further strengthen efforts to address climate change and provide additional economic opportunities through clean energy investments. Because of RGGI, New Hampshire is also well-positioned to meet requirements of the EPA’s Clean Power Plan.”
“We are proud to support efforts to strengthen the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative post-2020,” said Tim Smith, Director of ESG Shareowner Engagement at Walden Asset Management. “RGGI seeks to account for the social costs of carbon and encourages states to actively invest in renewable energy and energy efficiency solutions. We urge governors in the region to continue this ambitious program, which can serve as a model for other states across the country.”
Ceres is a nonprofit group mobilizing many of the world’s largest companies and investors to take stronger action on climate change, water scarcity and other sustainability challenges. Ceres directs the Investor Network on Climate Risk, a network of over 120 institutional investors with collective assets totaling more than $14 trillion. Ceres also engages with 100-plus companies, many of them Fortune 500 firms, committed to sustainable business practices and the urgency for stronger climate and clean energy policies. For more information visit: www.ceres.org or follow on Twitter @CeresNews.
The full and original article can be viewed on Ceres.org
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