Regional Cap-and-Trade Scheme Creates Economic Growth


A regional cap-and-trade program launched in the northeastern U.S. three years ago has saved customers nearly $1.1 billion on electricity bills, helped create 16,000 jobs, and has retained more than $765 million in local economies by reducing the demand for fossil fuels, according to a new analysis.

While the future of the so-called Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) remains in jeopardy — with New Jersey planning to drop out and other states also considering leaving — the study by the Boston-based Analysis Group finds that the project has had real benefits for the ten participating states.

The program requires major power plants to buy allowances at auction for each ton of carbon dioxide they emit. From mid-2008 to September, plant owners have spent about $912 million to buy those allowances, generating funds that were used to improve energy efficiency, train workers, and undertake local renewable energy projects.

“We tracked the dollars spent, and RGGI generates greater economic growth in every one of the 10 states that participate in RGGI than would occur without a carbon price,” said Susan Tierney, one of the authors of the study, which will be published in The Electricity Journal. RGGI’s participants include the six New England states, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, and Maryland.

Article appearing courtesy Yale Environment 360.

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Yale Environment 360 is an online magazine offering opinion, analysis, reporting and debate on global environmental issues. We feature original articles by scientists, journalists, environmentalists, academics, policy makers, and business people, as well as multimedia content and a daily digest of major environmental news. Yale Environment 360 is published by the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies and Yale University. We are funded in part by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The opinions and views expressed in Yale Environment 360 are those of the authors and not of the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies or of Yale University.

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