Maryland is part of a bi-partisan, multi-state agreement which will reduce the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative’s carbon pollution cap.Governor of Maryland Larry Hogan recently made an announcement to reduce carbon pollution between 2020 and 2030. The agreement by the nine states participating in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) will reduce the pollution cap by 30 percent. During that time frame, it will help to improve the standards of air quality and the state economy. Governor Hogan said the bipartisan effort is one of many “bipartisan, common sense solutions to protect our environment” and will “combat climate change, and improve air quality.” The agreement will see a 2,275,000 ton reduction of the carbon cap yearly beginning 2021. By 2030, the cap will be reduced by 22,750,000 tons, or 30 percent from the 2020 carbon pollution cap. The nine states will employ ECR, or the Emissions Containment Reserve, which will help in achieving further reductions in greenhouse emissions. The Emissions Containment Reserve's allotted budgetary reserve "allowances" would be used to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions cap even more when prices are lower than originally projected. A bank adjustment is also set to begin in 2021, which is designed to help in reducing planned emissions caps further when budgetary goals have met and exceeded expectations.
So far, RGGI states have reduced power sector carbon emissions by almost 50 percent. According to the RGGI, the 2030 cap will be over 65 percent lower than the cap of 2009. The RGGI also says that the measures have potentially life-saving public health benefits, reductions in greenhouse gases help in the prevention of asthma attacks in large numbers, while the overall health benefits help in reducing health-related costs. The RGGI initiative is one of several climate related measures taken by the state. Governor Hogan has already enacted 2016’s Greenhouse Emission Reduction Act -- calls for a 40 percent reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. Additionally, Governor Hogan has enacted legislation that will further support and expand the Maryland Climate Change Commission and sign into law the Clean Cars Act as part of a statewide effort to promote the use of electric cars. The eight other states taking part in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative include New York, Delaware, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Maine, Connecticut, Vermont and New Hampshire. The RGGI is the nation’s first market based, mandatory program designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Maryland and the eight other states of the RGGI will meet on September 25 to draft program elements. This latest agreement has come after a 2012 program review; the states of the RGGI pledged to hold another program review in 2021. What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments.