The regional cap on carbon dioxide emissions could be lowered by nearly half next year. New England’s regional greenhouse gas emissions are already lower than expected.
New England’s Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, or “reggie,” is a marketplace for carbon credits. Facilities like power generation plants buy allowances on this market for every ton of carbon they plan to emit. “Reggie” capped the allowances at a collective 165 million tons.
But state air quality specialist Frank Stevenson says we don’t need that many allowances. That’s because more facilities are using cleaner burning natural gas, plus the economic slow-down lowered demand. “What happened is we’ve now reassessed the situation and determined that where we thought emissions were going to be four years ago or five years ago, they are much less than that. So what we are really doing is bring the cap down to reality.”
Stevenson says the program in which Rhode Island and several other New England states participate will continue to require a two and a half percent a year decrease in regional carbon dioxide emissions. He says Rhode Island’s contribution to those emissions is relatively low.