PROVIDENCE, R.I. - In a video statement today, Governor Gina M. Raimondo endorsed a new, bipartisan agreement to cut greenhouse gas emissions across the region by 65 percent by 2030 and promote growth of Rhode Island's green economy. Earlier today, representatives from a number of eastern states - including Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New York, Maryland and Connecticut - released proposed changes that would extend and expand the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), the nation's first market-based cap-and-trade program to reduce emissions from the power sector.
"As a coastal state, Rhode Island is uniquely vulnerable to climate change. Today, I'm taking executive action to endorse RGGI's stronger, regional approach to climate change," said Governor Raimondo. "Rhode Island is a leader. We're the only state in America with an off-shore wind farm, we're making it easier for homeowners and businesses to install solar, we're helping our cities and towns invest in green infrastructure, and we're working to make our energy system ten times cleaner. RGGI plays an important role to make Rhode Island's energy system cleaner and our green economy stronger."
Under the proposed agreement released today, the RGGI program would be extended through 2030 and the emissions cap would be reduced by 30 percent from 2020 levels. Rhode Island is a founding member of the RGGI program, which was established in 2009 and sets a regional limit on CO2 emissions from power plants and requires plants to possess a tradable CO2 allowance for each ton they emit. These allowances are distributed to states via auctions which have generated more than $2.7 billion in proceeds to promote a cleaner energy system in the region. There are more than 15,000 green jobs in Rhode Island's economy and RGGI has directly created over 600 jobs.
"These proposed changes will substantially strengthen the RGGI program and mark an important milestone in our work to act on climate change," said Janet Coit, Director of the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, a member of the RGGI Board of Directors. "Reducing the emissions cap by 30 percent from 2020 to 2030, in particular, will ensure this successful program continues to drive down harmful emissions and to promote a cleaner energy system well into the future. Rhode Island Public Utilities Commissioner Marion Gold and I feel fortunate to represent Rhode Island on RGGI. And we applaud the work of all state leaders involved in this bi-partisan effort to address one of the most challenging - and vital - issues of our time. The RGGI program is an important part of our work in Rhode Island to address a changing climate and to invest in clean energy. This new RGGI agreement will strengthen these efforts, benefiting our families, environment, and economy."
RGGI participating states include Rhode Island, Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, New Hampshire, New York and Vermont. To read today's RGGI announcement and for more information about the program, visit www.rggi.org.
For a complete list of funded RGGI projects and initiatives in Rhode Island, visit www.energy.ri.gov.