- Climate Program Reaches New High: Raises Tens of Millions for NY

For Immediate Release: March 14, 2015

Travis Proulx: 518-462-5526 x238

Climate Program Reaches New High: Raises Tens of Millions for NY

New Auction High Set as Cuomo Proposed Raid on RGGI Fund

Albany – The pioneering climate action program that has become the national standard on how to cut carbon from power plants while raising funds for energy efficiency and clean energy development has set a new record, with the cost of carbon pollution allowances reaching $5.41 per ton. Since its founding, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) has raised more than $2 billion for the nine Northeast coalition members, with New York receiving approximately one-third – more than $760 million – of those funds.

The new benchmark comes at a time when New York State should be stepping up its climate action with a comprehensive statewide plan; instead, Governor Cuomo and state Senate leadership want to undermine RGGI by raiding up to $64 million and redirecting those funds to the state’s general fund and Environmental Protection Fund (EPF).

“RGGI is one of the most successful climate action programs in the nation, and is cutting air pollution, generating clean energy and creating jobs in every county of the state,” said Conor Bambrick, air and energy director. “State leaders should be looking for ways to expand RGGI to address climate pollution from all sectors of the economy – not undermining its success by raiding these funds for other purposes.”

Environmental Advocates strongly supports fully funding the EPF with a $200 million investment in the SFY 2015-16 budget; the EPF is another proven job creator, which supports municipal recycling programs, the protection of park and farmland and much more. But that support should not come at the expense of the climate initiatives driven by RGGI investments or any other environmental program.

The March 11th auction was the 27th since RGGI’s inception, and100% of the 15,272,670 allowable credits were purchased. This auction raised $31,953,878 for New York, delivering $140,353,878 to the state during the past year.

RGGI: A National Model for Fighting Climate Change

In September, 2013, Environmental Advocates released a report which found that RGGI was reshaping New York’s economy by fostering growth, development, and energy efficiency and clean energy practices in every county statewide. At that time, Central New York had benefitted from almost 1,500 projects, including solar panel installations at Cayuga Community College, St. Luke Apartments in Oswego, and the Geneva Community Center. The Southern Tier had benefitted from more than 1,000 projects, including initiatives at the Greater Binghamton Airport and Binghamton University. And one of the most promising programs in the Hudson Valley – the SUNY Ulster Clean Energy Technology Training Consortium – was supported by RGGI. The consortium, which is a partnership between Ulster, Dutchess, Orange, Rockland, and Sullivan County Community Colleges, had attracted more than 2,500 participants to be trained in renewable energy and green technology construction. View the full report online.