- Carbon Cutting/Clean Energy Program Has Biggest Year Yet

For Immediate Release: December 16, 2014

Travis Proulx: 518-462-5526 x238, tproulx@eany.org

Carbon Cutting/Clean Energy Program Has Biggest Year Yet

100% of RGGI Carbon Allowances Sold at Record Price

Albany – Since 2008, the pioneering Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) has defied critics by proving that reducing climate-altering pollution in a way that raises funds for clean energy is a true win-win.

Following reforms advanced by Environmental Advocates of New York in 2013, RGGI again exceeded expectations in the four carbon allowance auctions held this year, establishing a new record high of $5.21 per allowance at its December 3 auction; the 2013 average price was just $2.92. Additionally, after last year’s reforms right-sized the overall number of carbon allowances in line with the actual rate of pollution, 100% of the 77,751,106 allowances offered in 2014 were sold.

Across the nine states which comprise RGGI, $347,287,309.09 was raised this year bringing total revenue since 2008 to $1,935,045,944.05. New York, as the largest state in the coalition, and the one with the most pollution emitted received a little more than one-third of all proceeds resulting in $144,866,369.78 to the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). That adds up to more than $728 million for the state since 2008.

Conor Bambrick, air and energy director said, “The Obama Administration is following RGGI’s lead, and should reject false complaints from polluters and their allies in Congress that carbon caps hurt the economy. Six years in, RGGI continues to prove that clean energy is a much more financially sound investment than propping up costly and dirty fossil fuel dinosaurs.”

He added, “With the state continually receiving this revenue, Governor Cuomo should have a clear path forward to develop a comprehensive climate action plan during his second term which sets New York on the path to an 80% carbon reduction by 2050. He’s made that promise, now we need his plan. It starts with updating NYSERDA’s operating plan to ensure every cent goes to its intended purpose – energy efficiency and clean energy – in an open and public way. And it requires the acknowledgment that climate action goes well beyond power plant carbon caps, and must include an economy-wide vision that only the Governor can shepherd.”

Beyond Power Plants

Since taking office in 2011, Governor Cuomo has yet to craft a comprehensive climate action plan beyond last year’s RGGI reforms; the City of New York is in the process of creating such a plan which covers transportation (the largest carbon emitter), construction and more.

Governor Cuomo’s administration has also enabled the oil industry to dramatically increase shipments of volatile crude oil through our state, and is considering a proposal that would further exacerbate our climate problems by allowing for the expedited shipment of tar sands down the Hudson River and off to the global market. The Governor is also considering giving the green light to fracking in New York State, and recently did not require his economic team to follow the spirit of his Community Risk and Resiliency Act by incorporating climate planning into the awarding of more than $700 million in taxpayer incentives.

“RGGI has proven that the state can take aggressive action on climate while stimulating economic growth. As proud as we are of this program, it is only a piece of the pie and not a substitute for a clear and comprehensive climate action plan. Governor Cuomo should deliver the framework of a real climate action plan – which includes but is not limited to expanding RGGI to cover other sectors of the economy” Bambrick concluded.