Colin Durrant, CLF Director of Communications
Concord, NH (June 11, 2008) – With a stroke of the pen from Governor John Lynch, New Hampshire today will join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative-RGGI-a pact negotiated by Northeast governors to reduce global warming pollution from power plants in the region. The Conservation Law Foundation, a New England environmental group, hailed the agreement as an “urgently needed and historic step forward in the state’s fight to cut greenhouse gas emissions.”
“RGGI is one of the best tools in the climate toolkit that allows us-finally-to begin to take meaningful action to solve the problem of global warming,” said Melissa Hoffer, director of the Conservation Law Foundation’s New Hampshire Advocacy Center. “The time to act is now. We can no longer ignore the rising cost of climate change.”
A recent study estimates that, nationally, under a business-as-usual scenario, climate-related impacts due to hurricane damage, real estate losses, energy costs, and water costs will total $1.9 trillion annually by 2100. Using an innovative cap-and-trade system, RGGI will combat global warming by setting limits (caps) on the carbon dioxide emissions produced by power plants in each participating state. For each ton of carbon dioxide a plant emits, it must purchase one allowance. RGGI’s market-based approach will reward plants that reduce emissions (since they will save money by purchasing fewer allowances), and has served as a model for federal legislation, as well as for other countries seeking to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Importantly, New Hampshire’s RGGI law ensures that a substantial portion of the funds raised through the auction of carbon pollution allowances will be used to fund investments in energy efficiency that benefit residents and eventually help lower electricity bills.
Hoffer continued: “The Granite State’s environmental community worked together to ensure the maximum feasible amount of RGGI auction proceeds will be invested in energy efficiency, and that will allow New Hampshire to take a big step forward in reducing its energy demand at a time when energy costs are skyrocketing. The RGGI states have shown tremendous leadership on this issue, and we are very excited that New Hampshire has passed a strong RGGI law. But signing RGGI into law is just the beginning. We look forward to continuing to work with stakeholders across the state to reduce global warming pollution and increase energy efficiency through innovative strategies that reward smart climate practices.”
To date, ten states have committed to participate in RGGI, including Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, California and Delaware.
The Conservation Law Foundation (www.clf.org) works to solve the most significant environmental challenges facing New England. CLF’s advocates use law, economics and science to create innovative strategies to conserve natural resources, protect public health and promote vital communities in our region. Founded, in 1966, CLF is a nonprofit, member-supported organization with offices in Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont.