States dare to think big on climate change

“The one bright spot amid the generally gloomy news about climate change, and the Trump administration’s resistance to doing anything about it, is the determination of a number of state governments to take action on their own,” The New York Times writes in an editorial.

“California, as usual, has commanded the headlines on this score, having just strengthened its commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Now the nine Northeastern states that form the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative have done much the same, in a further rebuke to the know-littles and do-nothings like Scott Pruitt, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, who are now calling the shots on climate policy in Washington.

“The nine states, including Connecticut, Massachusetts and New York, last week agreed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from power plants an additional 30 percent by 2030, on top of the 40 percent cut they have already achieved since the program began in 2009. R.G.G.I., as the initiative is known, was the nation’s first multistate greenhouse gas initiative. From the beginning (and despite the defection of New Jersey’s Gov. Chris Christie), it has had the backing of governors from both parties. More important, it has quietly achieved substantial emissions reductions at little cost to the states’ economies or to their consumers.

“The nine states require power plants to buy permits to pollute. Over time, these permits decline in quantity. The idea of such cap-and-trade systems is to put a price on emissions, giving utilities an incentive to figure out ways to reduce emissions. Utilities can trade permits with one another. Since it began, the initiative has raised $2.7 billion, which the states have invested in energy efficiency, in helping low-income people pay electricity bills and in renewable sources of power like wind and solar. (The other R.G.G.I. states are Delaware, Maine, Maryland, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont.)”

The rest of the editorial is here.

Author: jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website SierraCulture.com. Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for years, was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News, and was Editor of The Union, a 145-year-old newspaper in Grass Valley. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing and trout fishing.

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