The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, or RGGI, has cut carbon emissions in New England and neighboring states to about half what they were in 2005. The program has a new, more aggressive goal for the next decade while New Hampshire lawmakers debate whether to stay or go.
The RGGI states agreed this month to cut emissions another 30 percent by 2030. The program has polluters either lower their emissions, or buy credits to keep polluting. The states use that revenue for rebates and energy efficiency. RGGI also has a new provision to make its standards stricter if the credits become less valuable to polluters.
"If it turns out that reducing pollution is cheaper and easier than anticipated, then the environment can share in the benefits too," says Travis Madsen with Environment America.
New Hampshire and Maine task their legislatures with putting RGGI updates into law, and they want to opt out of this new provision. New Hampshire lawmakers will also vote in early January on whether to pull out of RGGI entirely, and on whether to redirect RGGI proceeds.