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PA Environmental Council Releases Report Recommending PA Join RGGI Regional Climate Initiative, Update AEPS

Calling on Gov. Tom Wolf and the General Assembly to act without further delay, the Pennsylvania Environmental Council Wednesday issued a special report recommending  immediate steps Pennsylvania can take to reduce emissions of climate-changing gases and generated up to $200 million in annual revenues for the state.

The five major recommendations in the report include--

-- Join numerous other states in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), to begin providing a price signal and generating revenues that can reduce emissions in the electric power sector;

-- Reform the Alternative Energy Portfolio Standard (AEPS) into a Clean Energy Standard (CES) to further drive zero-carbon electricity generation;

-- Collaborate with neighboring states to ensure that the Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI) results in a robust policy proposal (that is then implemented by the Commonwealth) to significantly reduce emissions from the transportation sector;

-- Implement other measures and programs to support energy efficiency, zero carbon technologies, and carbon sequestration; and

-- Determine how to go beyond these measures to drive bigger, economy-wide reductions through an integrated carbon pricing mechanism.

“After years of talk, debate, research, and more talk about climate change, PEC respectfully requests that Gov. Wolf and the General Assembly move immediately to join nine other Northeastern states in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI),” said Davitt Woodwell, President of PEC. “We also ask that the governor and legislature adopt a Clean Energy Standard out of the current Alternative Energy Portfolio Standard.”

Taking these actions in the right ways will promote a broad, technology-agnostic energy policy that encourages low- and zero-carbon-emission energy sources including renewables, nuclear, and fossil fuels with carbon capture technologies.

Following these steps, Pennsylvania can substantially reduce emissions while working to protect consumers and create opportunities for workers.

PEC has been working on climate issues for well over a decade, from the 2007 release of its “Climate Change Roadmap for Pennsylvania” to 2017’s “Achieving Deep Carbon Reductions: Paths for Pennsylvania’s Electricity Future,” which grew out of a PEC-hosted conference convening experts from around the country.

“It is clear from all of our work that Pennsylvania has the opportunity and the imperative to take action on reducing climate-changing emissions,” PEC Senior Vice President John Walliser said. “What we are proposing today is not a silver bullet; rather, it is a significant first step on a long path forward.  We look forward to working with the Governor and the General Assembly to build that path.”

Joining RGGI will put Pennsylvania’s electric generators in a market-based program that sets targets for emissions and allows emitters to trade credits for their reductions.

One result of the program is a revenue stream for participating states that has topped  $1 billion during compliance periods. 

Creating a Clean Energy Standard will allow the Commonwealth to significantly reduce carbon emissions while also promoting its ever-evolving energy economy. Both these steps need to be carefully developed with the state’s interests in mind.

The report suggests an updated Clean Energy Standard for Pennsylvania could result in annual revenues in the neighborhood of $200 million.

In addition to these steps, PEC has also expressed its support of Pennsylvania’s participation in the Regional Transportation Initiative announced in December, as well as continuing and developing programs for energy efficiency, alternative-fuel vehicles, and technological innovation.

“When it comes down to it, we are running out of time to act on climate in anything but a crisis mode. By seizing control of its destiny with these steps, Pennsylvania can still make choices about how we fit into the narrative. Wait any longer and it is too late,” said Woodwell.

Click Here for a copy of the report.

Visit PEC’s Climate webpage to learn more about PEC’s Deep Decarbonization initiative.

Click Here to see other recent climate-related initiatives announced in Pennsylvania.

For more information on programs, initiatives and special events, visit the PA Environmental Council website, visit the PEC Blog, PEC Bill/Regulation Tracker, follow PEC on Twitter or Like PEC on Facebook.  Visit PEC’s Audio Room for the latest podcasts.  Click Here to receive regular updates from PEC.


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[Posted: Jan. 23, 2019]


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