Boston, MA (January 18, 2007)- Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick signed an agreement committing Massachusetts to the nation’s first multistate program to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming. The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) is designed to curb carbon dioxide emissions from power plants by 10 percent by 2019. It has already been signed by governors from Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York and Vermont.
“Climate change is one of the most pressing challenges of our time,” Patrick said. “On this day, we want everyone to know that Massachusetts will not stand on the sidelines.”
As part of the agreement, states are given “allowances” for emissions. Electricity generators like power plants will need the allowances for each ton of carbon dioxide they emit. Each state has the discretion to distribute the allowances however it wants. Patrick said Massachusetts will auction off all of its allowances and use the money-estimated at between $25 million to $125 million annually-to create a new program to encourage energy savings. The money would go to pay for energy efficiency, demand reduction, renewable energy programs, and combined heat and power projects (which use what is normally wasted heat from power generation for efficient heating.)
Union of Concerned Scientists