Hartford, CT – As the federal government attempts to roll back programs that limit air pollution, Environment Connecticut Research & Policy Center released a new report showing that Connecticut could use its own policies to cut pollution faster. The report, Doubling Down on Climate Progress, concludes that doubling the strength of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative would cut dangerous global warming pollution from power plants in half by 2030 and generate $1.2 billion to invest in clean energy – enough to weatherize 470,000 Connecticut homes.
“Right now, states like Connecticut are our best hope for action to protect the climate,” said Chris Phelps, Environment Connecticut State Director. “Connecticut should act quickly. We can’t count on the federal government, so it is up to states like ours to lead the region, the nation and even the world towards a clean energy future. We can all benefit from less pollution and more clean energy.”
The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative is the best regional clean air and climate protection program in the country. This program limits dangerous pollution from power plants in Connecticut and across the region – helping to slow the warming of our planet. It also fuels investment in clean energy by making polluters pay to pollute.
The report, co-authored by Frontier Group, illustrates the opportunity. It finds that doubling the strength of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (compared to simply keeping the program on its current trajectory) would:
Avoid up to an additional 100 million tons of pollution over a decade, the equivalent of making more than 1 million homes run entirely on solar power.
- Help Connecticut invest $260 million more in clean energy.*
“To tackle the climate crisis, we need to quickly shift away from dirty fuels like coal and gas, and move to 100 percent clean, renewable energy,” said Phelps. “The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative can help us get there faster.”
The report also reviewed the impressive benefits the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative has achieved for Connecticut since it was created in 2005. Key findings include:
- It has helped to cut global warming pollution from power plants by 40percent. On average, power plant pollution in the region has been falling by almost 5 percent per year. In 2016, pollution went down by 4.8 percent.
- It has driven a investment in clean energy, energy efficiency and consumer benefit programs. Across the whole region, those programs have locked in more than $4.6 billion in long term savings on our energy bills. That’s an incredible $3.5 in savings for every dollar spent on clean energy.
“As good as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative is, we can make it better,” said Phelps. “We need Governor Malloy and governors across the region to accelerate our progress in the fight against global warming, and magnify the important benefits that come from reducing pollution.”
* This report was updated in May 2017 to strengthen its conclusions, as described in footnote 62 on page 24.