RGGI For Cars

by Colby Kyes

Nearly a decade ago, the first draft of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) was signed by 9 North Atlantic states. It established a regional cap-and-trade program for limiting carbon emissions from many sources within the region. Cap-and-trade is a market-based approach to controlling pollution by providing economic incentives for achieving reductions in the emissions of pollutants. The main focus of the RGGI was power generation and industrial emissions. We now have another leading source of emissions to focus on — transportation.

This shift has prompted lawmakers to start looking at how to tackle the problem of reducing emissions from the transportation sector.

In 2016, the emissions from transportation (cars, trucks, buses, planes) overtook power as the  largest source of emissions  in the U.S. Image: Rhodium US Climate Service

In 2016, the emissions from transportation (cars, trucks, buses, planes) overtook power as the largest source of emissions in the U.S. Image: Rhodium US Climate Service

Transportation is notoriously complicated  when it comes to reducing emissions. There are millions of cars on the road, not to mention millions of vehicles involved in the shipping industry. Compared to that, regulating thousands of power plants and industrial sites seems like a piece of cake!

But there is a lot of promising momentum around putting a plug on those emissions! Salemnews.com, spoke to the Environmental League of Massachusetts (ELM) president, Elizabeth Turnbull Henry who said that “we're seeing a lot of opportunity for transportation emission reductions to move forward faster.” Adding to that, Henry makes a reference to Gov. Baker’s pursuit of a “RGGI program for vehicles” that could “unlock a lot of funds”.

So just what the heck is Mrs. Henry talking about?!

There is an existing proposal aimed at tackling the issue of vehicle emissions with a RGGI-esque approach. It is called the Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI). TCI is a consortium of 12 states, plus D.C., including all 9 states from the RGGI. While the initiative has been around for almost 7 years, there is new momentum growing for the TCI to have some real teeth in implementing policy. Mass Governor Charlie Baker released a statement in support of the TCI last December. The TCI hopes to complete its “design process” by the end of this year!

Creating a binding agreement to regulate vehicle emissions would be HUGE for setting us on target to hit emissions reductions goals. What is unclear right now is how exactly such a regulation would be enforced, but as the graph from earlier in this post shows, we are in desperate need of such a regulation.

If you support the adoption of this move to reduce vehicle emissions we hope you will let your local and state government know by calling and or emailing them. In that spirit, we hereby submit a handy list of contact info for your convenience!

TCI Governors Contact Info
State
Connecticut: Ned Lamont
(860)-566-4840
New York: Andrew Cuomo
(518)-474-8390
Delaware: John Carney
(302)-744-4101
Pennsylvania: Tom Wolf
(717)-787-2500
Maine: Janet Mills
(207)-287-3531
Rhode Island: Gina Raimondo
(401) 222-2080
Maryland: Larry Hogan
(410)-974-3901
Vermont: Phil Scott
(802)-828-3333
New Hampshire: Chris Sununu
(603)-271-2121
Virginia: Ralph Northam
(804)-786-2211
New Jersey: Phil Murphy
(609)-292-6000